Lot Closed

October 6, 04:05 PM GMT


150,000 - 200,000 USD

Lot Details



1901 - 1985


signed and dated 81

acrylic on paper laid down on canvas

Canvas: 19⅝ by 26¼ in. (50 by 67 cm.)

Framed: 34¼ by 41⅜ in. (87 by 105 cm.)

Estate of the Artist

Galerie Daniel Malingue, Paris

Evelyn Aimis Fine Art, Delray Beach

Acquired from the above by the present owner in June 1997

Max Loreau, Catalogue des Travaux de Jean Dubuffet, fascicule XXXIV: Psycho-Sites, Paris 1984, no. 151, p.47, illustrated

There are approximately 500 works by Jean Dubuffet that have come to be known as the Psycho-sites, which the artist made in about the span of just a year in 1981-82 and which boast a number of similarities at a basic material level. However, none are quite equal to another, as the very idea of the Psycho-sites rests on their haphazard variations developed from seemingly arbitrary differences that in fact alter the reception and interpretation of their physical qualities. In Jean Dubuffet’s own words,

“The theme of [of the Psycho-sites] is constantly the same; that of a site in which appear varying numbers of standing characters. A site – one could also very much call it a place – that is very undetermined, very general, of which one could not know to say whether it is situated in the city or in the country, in a room or outside. There is also no knowing whether it is portrayed on the overhang or in elevation. The equivocal, in that regard, reins supreme; a confusion is instituted between the vertical and horizontal planes. More so than with a site, one would need to speak of an idea of a site, something more abstract if you will, no more than the notion of place, without specificity of any kind.

The characters do not hold this specificity either, they are more so as well the ideas of character that populate these ideas of sites, and we can in passing note that they are at a larger scale than is reasonable. They are often disproportionate, contributing there to increasing the ambiguity of the space in which they evolve – or let’s say from the translation which is proposed from this space… That which the mind received is nothing but an interpretation, a coded translation. We are mistaken when we identify reality with the vision that we think we have of things…

It is possible that, more so than to imagine them how we see them, that we are trained to see them in the adopted form – conventionally and arbitrarily adopted – in order to imagine them. Imaginings which we call realistic are only those which respect conventions, that faithfully reproduce that which we our conditioning makes us believe we are seeing. But that this should be that which is real is false… These paintings are made hastily and their precipitated execution Is the motivation of their language, bringing here an indetermination, a polyvalence, which contribute to a strengthening of the mental state, more than to that of the physical one, of the evoked site…

All of these small paintings actually build on the conviction that there is no basis for differentiating between a site considered real and a phantom, in a basic sense; all that we believe to see being always and in all cases an arbitrary production of the spirit.”

-   Jean Dubuffet, May 1982, as quoted in Max Loreau, Catalogue des Travaux de Jean Dubuffet, fascicule XXXIV: Psycho-Sites. pp. 7-8