Jean Dubuffet was born July 31, 1901 in Le Havre, France. Dubuffet studied art on and off for many years beginning in 1918, but only committed to becoming an artist full time in 1942. He approached the surrealist group in 1948 and also began a collection of Art Brut (outsider art). Dubuffet coined the term for art produced by non-professionals working outside the aesthetic norms, such as art by mental patients, prisoners and children. Many of Dubuffet's works are painted in oil and with an impasto thickened with sand, tar and straw. Later on in his life, he produced sculpture working in polystyrene, which he then painted with vinyl paint.
Dubuffet had his first solo exhibition in 1944 at the Galerie René Drouin in Paris. Retrospectives of his work include a showing in 1959 at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York, as well as a retrospective (1942-1960) in the Musée Des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. In 1985, the Fondation Maeght exhibited a retrospective of paintings, sculpture, and drawings. The Fondation Jean Dubuffet was established by the artist in 1973 in order to keep a significant group of work together and accessible to the public. The Fondation Jean Dubuffet houses items from Dubuffet's personal collection and also serves to acquire and conserve his works.
Jean Dubuffet died May 12, 1985 in Paris