Past exhibition

TEFAF New York 2022

5–10 May 2022

For TEFAF New York 2022, Waddington Custot presents a solo booth of paintings by the celebrated ‘enfant terrible’ of postwar French painting and vocal proponent of Art Brut, Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985). Rebelling against conventional ideas of beauty, Dubuffet captured the gritty authenticity of everyday life in Post-War France. In his persistent search for an oeuvre nouvelle (a style not borrowed from any earlier school), Dubuffet’s  provocative practice was characterised by endless artistic experimentation. Through his expansive practice, Dubuffet sought to ignore “everything that came before” and install himself as the painter of modern life and his art as the art of the moment. [1]


Waddington Custot’s presentation highlights two key moments in this exceptional career: the 1950s, and the late 1970s to early 1980s. 


Our selection of five 1950s artworks epitomises Dubuffet’s material and thematic endeavours of the decade, in particular his interest in both portrait and landscape painting, which he saw as closely related. We include two landscape pieces, ‘Paysage pétrifié’ (1952) and ‘Jardin de souffle cor’ (1956), that both feature Dubuffet’s characteristic high horizon line with just a sliver of sky at the top, encouraging the viewer to devote their attention to the world beneath the surface. These are supplemented with three figurative pieces: the oil on canvas  ‘Cinq et un six’ (1956) and two assemblages, ‘Instants fugaces’ (1957) and ‘Barbe des dénombrements’ (1959). 


Waddington Custot also presents a group of works made between 1979 and 1984, which sit within Dubuffet’s Théâtres de mémoire, Sites aléatoire and Psycho-sites series. Together these are characterised by dense clusters of interwoven lines and shapes in boldly-coloured acrylic, populated with figures often assembled from collaged elements. They demonstrate Dubuffet’s commitment to exploring interior and exterior, mind and matter, as no longer distinguishable spaces. Within this group, Waddington Custot includes four works on paper that come directly from the Fondation Dubuffet, Paris. This continues our long standing relationship with the artist and Fondation, having given Dubuffet his first solo show in the United Kingdom in 1972 and hosted 13 solo shows since.


Find us 5–10 May 2022 at stand 316.

[1] Dubuffet, Paris: Centre Pompidou, 2001, p.360

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