acrylic on collaged canvas-backed paper mounted on canvas
The Pace Gallery, New York
Mr. and Mrs. Harry Macklowe, New York
Waddington Galleries, London
Galerie Lansberg, Paris
Lipworth Hartman International Arts, Inc., Boca Raton
Acquired by the present owner from the above in April 1998
Jean Dubuffet's revolutionary style challenged the status quo, forcing a reappraisal of the roster of artists critics considered talented and the work they deemed worthy of respect. It was Dubuffet who coined the phrase art brut ("raw art"), a term used to describe art outside the boundaries of official culture, paving the way for an entirely new set of aesthetics. This ideology inspired generations of outsider artists (those who worked outside the margins of the tradional art world) as well as some of the most influential contemporary figures in the past half century. His perfected primitivism and naiveté are flagrant in the canvases of such icons as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel.
Garden Party, painted in 1976, incorporates one of Dubuffet's most iconic motifs. Cartoonish, disembodied heads and bungling figures—outlined in black but blocked in with white atop—populate an otherwise dimensionless, scribbled canvas. Though they all appear hastily jotted out, each face is animated with its own singular expression. One body seems to gyrate— teeth barred—while another two heads, each rotated 90 degrees clockwise, gaze vacantly outwards. The color palette in the present work incorporates rich, cobalt blue and saturated crimson into a medley of more muted tones: fleshy mauves, burnt umber, and raw sienna. And though each face deserves focused attention, its power truly does come from the en semble cast.
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