Lot 194
  • 194

Jean Dubuffet

500,000 - 700,000 USD
495,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Jean Dubuffet
  • Mondanité XX
  • signed with the artist's initials and dated 75; titled on the reverse
  • acrylic on paper mounted to canvas


The Pace Gallery, New York
Hokin Gallery, Palm Beach
Private Collection, Chicago
Hokin Gallery, Palm Beach
Acquired from the above by the present owner in January 1986


Max Loreau, Ed., Catalogue de travaux de Jean Dubuffet, Fascicule XXX: Parachiffres, mondanités, lieux abrégés, Paris 1980, cat. no. 100, p. 46, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Jean Dubuffet’s Mondanité XX from 1975 immediately follows the artist's largest series, the Hourloupe cycle, which occupied him over a twelve-year span from 1962 to 1974. Constructed from the same interlocked amoeba-like forms that defined the l'Hourloupe series, the present work encapsulates the climactic aesthetic and compositional feats of Dubuffet’s output at the height of his prolific career. In its simplified yet rich, chromatic palette, effortless employment of sinuous line, and masterful arrangement of compositional space, Mondanité XX revels in Dubuffet’s mature artistic vision that not only exemplifies his formal and stylistic acumen but also his dynamic interpretation of cosmopolitan society.

Consistent with Dubuffet’s use of playful titles throughout his oeuvre, the word Mondanité eschews any explicit definition or translation, functioning instead like a figure of speech that connotes worldliness and society life. Dubuffet’s fascination with Parisian society is perhaps the most deep-rooted and salient thematic quality underscoring his prolific output. While the portraits of his early career presented categorical “types” or caricatures of people he encountered on the streets of Paris – typically depicting a single individual – here in Mondanité XX, we see a departure away from the single individual toward a collectivized view of humanity. In the present work, Dubuffet captures the claustrophobic press of the masses and the frenetic heartbeat of urban commotion. Within this densely layered web of entangled forms, playfully exaggerated fragments of parodied faces emerge and oscillate within the thicket of Dubuffet’s abstracted curvature. In its saturated color palette of vibrant alizarin crimson and cherry tones, Mondanité XX conveys Dubuffet’s ability to capture the jubilance and complex entropy he saw inherent in Parisian society life. Perfectly epitomizing the ebullient cosmopolitan circus seen in the present work, Dubuffet exclaimed: “In the paintings I now plan to do there will only be aggressively unreasonable forms, colors gaudy without reason, a theater of irrealities, an outrageous attempt against everything existing, the way wide open for the most outlandish inventions” (Dubuffet cited in A. Frankze, Dubuffet, New York 1981, p. 147).