Jean Dubuffet was born on July 31st in Le Havre (Normandy), the son of a wine merchant. At the age of 18 he moved to Paris studing at the Académie Julian, which he left after six months to carry his painting career on alone. In those years he attendend the Parisian artistic scene coming into contact with artist such as Suzanne Valadon, Max Jacobs and Raoul Dufy.
The decision to devote himself entirely to painting will be long and difficult. After a period of eight years in which the artist is dedicated to the family wine business and travel, around 1942 his interest in painting was rekindled. Thanks to Jean Paulhan, who introduced him to Parisian painters and writers intellighenzia, he exhibited for the first time in 1944 at the Galerie René Drouin. In those years he focuses on Art Brut, that he theorized and introduced, which leds him to found in 1948 the Compagnie de l’Art Brut. This is a primitive art, naive, spontaneous, devoid of cultural impositions, produced by children or mentally ill people. Between the 40s and 50s the French master devotes his attention to the children’s drawings; then deepens his research on the raw material that will lead him to realize around 1958 the series of lithographs Les Phénomenènes (completed in 1962). Starting from the 60s his style is transformed by introducing into his works images full of details and overlapping playing with the viewer’s perception. After opening his studio in Paris documenting all his work, he started working at the Paris Circus series.
In 1971 he made his first stage objects, Praticables. These were the years in which he devoted himself to sculpture, set design and environmental architecture, opening in New York The group of four trees. In 1981 the Guggenheim in New York and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, dedicated two major exhibitions on the occasion of his eightieth birthday.
After writing his biography “Biographie au pas de course” in just three months, he died in Paris on May 12, 1985.