Jean Dubuffet

Dubuffet sought to replicate the immediacy of the art of the untutored. In this sheet, he incised four figures into a ground of opaque watercolor, exposing the sandpaper he used as a support. The technique shares more with graffiti and the scrawls of children than with academic drawing. The artist once remarked, “When I say draw I’m not to the slightest degree thinking of faithfully reproducing objects . . . . No, it’s a matter of something quite different: to animate the paper, to make it palpitate.”

Jean Dubuffet
French, 1901–1985
Four Figures, 1946
Opaque watercolor, with incising, on coarse sandpaper
Richard and Mary L. Gray, promised gift to the Morgan Library & Museum
Gray Collection Trust, Art Institute of Chicago
Photography by Jamie Stukenberg, Professional Graphics Inc.