- Jean Dubuffet
- Le Griot
- signed with the artist's initials and dated 71
- acrylic on klégécell glazed fiberglass
- 69 1/4 by 39 1/2 in. 175.9 by 100.3 cm.
Waddington Galleries, London
Christie's, New York, November 20, 1996, lot 46
Irving Galleries, Palm Beach
Acquired by the present owner from the above
Le Griot and the entire Coucou Bazar epitomize l’Hourloupe, Dubuffet’s most iconic and celebrated artistic cycle that lasted from 1962 until 1974. An iconic Hourloupe construction, Le Griot’s thick black outlines emphasize the doodle-derived patterns that comprise the figure, harmoniously balanced out by the bold abstractions of primary reds and blues with white. By limiting himself to just these four colors throughout the entire L’Hourloupe cycle, Dubuffet eliminates expressionism as a function of color. The ability to free his art from cultural inhibitions and prescribed color relationships elevates these figures to exist as part of the real.
The creation of Le Griot demonstrates Dubuffet’s ability to captivate audiences with skill, color and form. Generating a tremendous energy and frenetic movement, Le Griot is an example of how the artist envisioned the world through a kaleidoscope of jumbled and savage, yet elegant forms. Although this example lends itself to participate fluidly in Coucou Bazar, individually it stands as an authoritative and spiritual figure, inspired by the mystic leaders the artist met in his brief yet transformative trip to West Africa. It is only fitting that Le Griot translates from French to mean “the storyteller, singer, poet and musician;” ever the master of playful humor, Dubuffet invented the word L’Hourloupe purely based on its sound.