Art Brut came to define Dubuffet’s rather raw, expressive approach to painting, deconstructing common conceptions of what it meant to be an artist. The present landscape possesses a simplistic quality – a genuine, almost child-like depiction of flat planes lined with trees and a horizon speckled with the warm hues of sunlight. Dubuffet ruptures any sense of naturalistic representation, adopting a deliberately naïve outlook. The message is optimistic – a sun rising over the mountains, a path climbing toward a clear horizon, all rendered with a bright and vivid color palette. Dubuffet counters war and destruction with this consciously rudimentary approach to landscape, while also challenging notions of beauty and skill.
Paysage Champêtre offers only one, broad picture plane, calling attention to the use of line and color and leaving the viewer to imagine the various elements of the scene. Dubuffet sought to challenge the viewer and enable the imagination rather than create literal representations. This work is an example of the artist’s uninhibited and unfiltered artistic expression. “Art does not lie down in a readymade bed; it flees the moment it hears its name; it likes to remain incognito. Its finest moments are those when it forgets what it’s called,” (Dubuffet, 1960, quoted in Jean Dubuffet: Metamorphosis of Landscape, Fondation Beyeler 2016). Dubuffet saw no limits to the expressive potential of landscape painting – his works transcended the rules of perspective and proportion to transform the art form into a malleable concept. His nonconformist approach to making art propelled him into the forefront of Contemporary Art discourse, calling conventional artistic mechanisms into question.
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