Lot 111
  • 111

Jean Dubuffet

500,000 - 700,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • 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.


Estate of the Artist
Waddington Galleries, London
Christie's, New York, November 20, 1996, lot 46
Irving Galleries, Palm Beach
Acquired by the present owner from the above


Max Loreau, ed., Catalogue des travaux de Jean Dubuffet: Fascicule XXVII: Coucou Bazar, Lausanne, 1976, cat. no. 49, p. 43, illustrated

Catalogue Note

In 1971, Jean Dubuffet conceptualized and began sculpting figures, affectionately designated “animated paintings” for his Coucou Bazar, a modern, majestic interpretation of the tableaux vivants from the 19th Century. Le Griot, an energetic, asymmetrical acrylic on klégécell panel sculpture, served as one of 98 Practicables, figures that acted as both living forms and stage props, which actors could easily move and manipulate. The circus-like spectacle of Coucou Bazar dazzled audiences in New York, Paris and Turin, unprecedented at the time in both its elaborate, awe-inspiring scale and its artistic ingenuity.

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.