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(b Le Havre, July 31, 1901; d Paris, May 12, 1985).

French painter, sculptor, printmaker, collector and writer (see fig.). He was temperamentally opposed to authority and any suggestion of discipline and devised for himself a coherent, if rebellious, attitude towards the arts and culture. For all his maverick challenges to the values of the art world, Dubuffet’s career exemplified the way in which an avant-garde rebel could encounter notoriety, then fame and eventual reverence. His revolt against beauty and conformity has come to be seen as a symptomatic and appreciable influence in 20th-century culture.

The son of a prosperous and authoritarian wine-merchant in Le Havre, Dubuffet left home for Paris at 17 to pursue irregular studies in the arts. But, growing sceptical of the artist’s privileged status and savouring an affinity with ‘the common man’, he abandoned painting in ...

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[Hildegard] (Anna Augusta Elisabeth)

(b Strasburg [now Strasbourg], May 31, 1890; d Franton Court, CT, Sept 27, 1967).

American museum director, collector, writer and painter of German birth. She came from an aristocratic German family and studied art in Cologne, Paris and Munich. In Berlin in 1917 she was attracted by the work of Vasily Kandinsky and met Rudolf Bauer (1889–1953), who had a profound influence upon her career. She went to the USA in early 1927, and in late 1927 she met Solomon R. Guggenheim and Irene Guggenheim. She soon began trying to interest Solomon in new art, especially the work of Bauer and Kandinsky. By late 1929 she had persuaded him to amass a collection of abstract art. Her role was to arrange contacts between Guggenheim and various European artists, and to help select works for his collection. In parallel she built up a smaller collection of her own.

In 1937 Rebay was made Director of the new Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and from ...