French, 20th century, male.
Born 31 July 1901, in Le Havre; died 12 May 1985, in Paris.
Painter, sculptor, draughtsman, printmaker, lithographer, writer, collector.
At the age of 15, Jean Dubuffet attended evening classes at the École des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre and then enrolled at the Académie Julian in Paris, staying there for six months. He met Suzanne Valadon, Max Jacob, Raoul Dufy, André Masson, Fernand Léger, and Juan Gris between 1919 and 1922. In 1924, at barely 24 years old, he gave up painting for the first time and went to work for a central heating company in Buenos Aires for six months. When he returned to France, Dubuffet joined the family wine business in Le Havre. A few years later, he established his wholesale wine trading business in the Bercy district of Paris. He returned to painting full time in 1934 and appointed a manager for his business. Three years later, threatened with bankruptcy, he had to go back to his business and abandoned painting a second time. That year Dubuffet married Émilie Carlu (Lili), and in 1942, he abandoned his business for good and started painting again, this time until his death. He became acquainted with Jean Paulhan and, through him, met Paul Éluard, Pierre Seghers, André Frénaud, Jean Fautrier, Francis Ponge, and Eugène Guillevic. That year was pivotal in respect to the early development of his work; it was then that his style developed, and the breaking with the past can be seen in ...