The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

European Art After World War II

What is art brut?

Art brut, meaning “raw art,” is a term coined by French painter Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985) in 1945 to describe outsider art, or, art made by individuals without academic training, including the art of children, criminals, and the mentally ill. Along with Surrealist André Breton and art critic Michel Tapié, Dubuffet founded the Compagnie de l’Art Brut, which collected art brut created by mental Swiss mental patients. This collection grew to over two thousand works and was later donated by Dubuffet to the Swiss city of Lausanne, in 1971. Dubuffet, whose own art was greatly inspired by outsider art, was interested in spontaneity, originality, and freedom from the social constraints of art production.


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