Lot 1
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JEAN DUBUFFET | Légende du Bonheur

1,500,000 - 2,000,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Jean Dubuffet
  • Légende du Bonheur
  • signed and dated 61; signed, titled and dated sept 1961 on the reverse
  • oil on canvas
  • 100 x 81 cm; 39 3/8 x 37 7/8 in.
  • Executed on 7 September 1961.


Galerie Daniel Cordier, Paris
Private Collection, Aubigny-sur-Nère
Richard Feigen Gallery, New York
Private Collection, New York
Sotheby's, London, Contemporary Art Evening Sale, 22 June 2005, lot 14
Van de Weghe Fine Arts, New York
Private Collection, Connecticut
Sotheby's, Paris, Art Contemporain Vente du soir, 31 May 2011, lot 9
Private Collection, Europe


Paris, Galerie Daniel Cordier, Dubuffet : Paris Circus, 1962, no. 28
New York, Richard L. Feigen & Co, Dubuffet and the Anticulture, 1969-1970; catalogue, p. 42, no. 31, illustrated


Max Loreau, Catalogue des travaux de Jean Dubuffet, Fascicule XIX: Paris Circus, 1965, Lausanne, p. 89, no. 160, illustrated
Renato Barilli, Dubuffet : le cycle de l'Hourloupe, Paris, 1976, p. 11, no. 10, illustrated
Renato Barilli, Dubuffet : oggetto e progetto, il ciclo dell'Hourloupe, Milan, 1976, p. 11, no. 10, illustrated

Catalogue Note

What a wonderful and delighting promise of a better future Dubuffet made to his contemporaries when, on 7 September 1961, he created this Légende du Bonheur, at a time when France was mired in the last turbulences of the Algerian war, and on the eve of the near miss attack of the General de Gaulle on the road to Colombey-les-deux-Eglises!
Very first of Dubuffet's Personnage des Légendes, and one of the few on canvas, Légende du bonheur is certainly among the most accomplished pieces of this short yet exceptional cycle. Part of the Paris Circus cycle, it paved the way for the Hourloupe. Unlike Mélancolie, which was recently fiercely fought over in auction at Sotheby's London, and is comparable to Légende du Bonheur in terms of dimension, technique, subject matter and date of creation -as it also dates from September 1961-, Légende du Bonheur is a vibrant testimony of Dubuffet's incredible ability to pull various strings at the same time, without ever losing in intensity or making mundane compromises.
With its jubilant palette of colors and its unique "totally non-intentional" pictorial vigor -according to Max Loreau-, Légende du Bonheur is the quintessence of this Art Brut Dubuffet championed. For if the artist had long been persuaded that only "solitary psychopaths and mediums could tell the real path of artistic creation", the Légendes truly "allowed him to see a bit clearer in his aspirations" (ibid.) and propelled him to the peak of his art, leaving a definitive mark in the history of art.