Art Brut, artists and art

(movement, 1945)

The idea of "Art Brut" appeared around 1945. Its conception is generally attributed to the French painter Jean Dubuffet who meant by the term "works executed by those immune to artistic culture in which imitation has no role; in which their creators take all (subjects, materials, transposition, rhythm, style etc.) from their own individuality and not from the base of classical art or stylish trends". One can understand from this definition that parctitioners of "Art Brut" are mentally or socially marginal: prisoners, patients of psychiatric hospitals or other institutions, originals, solitary beings, condemned, all individuals who have a social status removed from the constraints of cultural conditioning.


Artists Art Brut:

Art Brut

The development of the awareness of forms of creative expression that exist outside accepted cultural norms, or the realm of "fine art", began with the researches of psychiatrists early in the century. The work of Dr Morganthaler documented his patient Adolf Wolfli, a genius who produced countless thousands of works from a small cell in his Swiss asylum. Dr Hans Prinzhorn collected thousands of works by psychiatric patients and his book "Bildernerei der Geisteskranken" (Artistry of the Mentally Ill), published in 1922 became an influential work amongst Surrealist and other artists of the time. One artist who was particularly affected by the works Prinzhorn presented was Jean Dubuffet. Together with others, including Andre Breton, he formed the Compagnie de l'Art Brut in 1948 and strove to seek out and collect works of extreme individuality and inventiveness by creators who were not only untrained artists but often had little concept of an art gallery or even any other forms of art other than their own. Dubuffet's concept of Art Brut, or Raw Art, was of works that were in their "raw" state, uncooked by cultural and artistic influences. He built up a vast collection of thousands of works, works which bore no relation to developments in contemporary art and yet were the innovative and powerful expressions of a wide range individuals from a variety of backgrounds.