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LINES INTO FORM: THE MARTIN AND DIANE TRUST COLLECTION

Jean Dubuffet
CISEAUX I
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 1,023,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
220

LINES INTO FORM: THE MARTIN AND DIANE TRUST COLLECTION

Jean Dubuffet
CISEAUX I
Estimate
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 1,023,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York

Jean Dubuffet
1901 - 1985
CISEAUX I
signed and dated 66; signed, titled and dated Février 1966 on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
38 1/4 by 51 1/4 in. 97.2 by 130.2 cm.
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Provenance

Galerie Beyeler, Basel
The Pace Gallery, New York
Collection of Mrs. S. Kittay, New York 
Waddington Galleries Ltd., London
Acquired from the above by the present owner in July 1986

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Utensiles, Demeures, Escaliers de Jean Dubuffet, June - July 1967, cat. no. 8, illustrated
Stockholm, Galerie Burén, Jean Dubuffet: L’Hourloupe, October - November 1967, cat. no. 15, illustrated 
Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Jean Dubuffet, February - April 1968, cat. no. 18

Literature

Max Loreau, Ed., Catalogue de travaux de Jean Dubuffet, Fascicule XXI: L’Hourloupe II, Paris 1968, cat. no. 247, p. 144, illustrated

Catalogue Note

A tangled web of red, white, and blue patterns are cut and spliced from multiple aerial perspectives into a single unified construction, revealing a unique vision of a pair of scissors in Jean Dubuffet’s remarkable Ciseaux I. Executed in 1966, it is a highly accomplished large-scale example of the artist’s celebrated Ustensiles Utopiques paintings, in which he applied his signature l’Hourloupe style to a series of ubiquitous, everyday objects. Divorced from any context or distractions, and presented as the sole focus of the composition, the humble scissors become a sublime icon in this celebration of the everyday. Following on from the seminal Paris Circus paintings of the early 1960s, these are some of Dubuffet’s most characteristic works, and Ciseaux I represents the pinnacle of his distinctive oeuvre.

As an emblematic example of Ustensiles Utopique, the present work takes its place alongside the depictions of teacups, bottles, chairs, stoves, and faucets that had been his focus since 1964. Each work in the series follows a consistent compositional structure: the object, abstractly rendered in an interlocking jigsaw of reds, blues, whites, and Breton stripes, is placed on a stark black background that is devoid of any potential signifiers of time and place. Dubuffet’s amorphous compositions lavished attention upon overlooked quotidian objects with the same uninhibited sense of childlike wonder that had driven his earliest fascination with Art Brut. Under the guise of l’Hourloupe, banal manufactured objects become sites of “utopia,” visionary reappraisals of the formerly unstudied paraphernalia of daily existence. Thus Ciseaux I is, in many ways, the culmination of Dubuffet’s artistic ambitions: a new unschooled visual language, deployed to translate the raw essence of everyday life.

Compressed into two dimensions and starkly highlighted within a flat black background, Dubuffet’s unassuming scissors are elevated from a common ordinary object to a metamorphic curiosity that takes on a splendor of its own. Like his American contemporaries Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg, Dubuffet chose to celebrate the beauty of the banal, defamiliarizing ubiquitous objects to create bold artistic interpretations. With Ciseaux I and the rest of the Ustensiles Utopiques, Dubuffet completely redefined the traditional genre of still life, ushering in a new brand of French Pop art.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
New York