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Outsider art or ''Art Brut''

Art Brut
Art Brut :Carlo Zinelli
Art Brut
Edward Jones


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L’Art brut is a term coined in 1945 by the French painter Jean Dubuffet. This Art brut   ("raw art" or "rough art"), aims to describe pictures created outside the boundaries of official culture.  Dubuffet focused particularly on art by those on the outsides of the established art scene such as insane asylum inmates and children.
The term "Outsider Art" was created in 1972 by an art critic named Roger Cardinal as a synonym for Art brut.

For Dubuffet the Art brut was a spontaneous, unpretentious activity which owed nothing to a cultural or intellectual process.  According to him, the works resulting from the activity of the picture maker were the fruit of a solitude and a pure and authentic creative drive. The picture makers did not compete for a market, they did not pretend to social advancement or to celebrity. For Dubuffet, every picture devoured by Culture, saw itself emptied of all its substance, all its power. The Art brut escaped this recycling.

The interest for the Art of the insane persons appeared in the 1920s. In 1921, Dr Walter Morgenthaler published a book entitled "The insane person as an artist." One day, one of his patients having begun spontaneously to draw, the doctor discovered that the activity seemed to calm him. In 1922, Dr Hans Prinzhorn published "The Art of the mentally ill" which was the first serious work published from a study on these «free» pictures. This last book aroused a lot of attention on behalf of modern artists at the time.

Outsider art has since emerged as a successful art marketing category. An annual Outsider Art Fair has taken place in New York since 1993.
If we define  Art as an object  elaborated as a dialogue between the artist and the Art market;  an image which has as its  ultimate end to be exposed  in a museum; we can say that the "Art brut" is an image which does not result from a dialogue between the picture maker and Art  market  but which is the fruit of a soliloquy, a speech which the picture maker holds with himself. This Art is not in priori intended for the Museum, although it eventually ends there.


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Last update: January 15  2018

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