Art Term

Art brut

Art brut is a French term that translates as 'raw art', invented by the French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art such as graffiti or naïve art which is made outside the academic tradition of fine art

Jean Dubuffet, ‘The Tree of Fluids’ 1950
Jean Dubuffet
The Tree of Fluids 1950
Tate
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017

Jean Dubuffet saw fine art as dominated by academic training, which he referred to as ‘art culturel’ or cultural art. For Dubuffet, art brut − which included graffiti, and the work of the insane, prisoners, children, and primitive artists was the raw expression of a vision or emotions, untramelled by convention. He attempted to incorporate these qualities into his own art, to which the term art brut is also sometimes applied.

Dubuffet made a large collection of art brut, and in 1948 founded the Compagnie de l’Art Brut to promote its study. His collection is now housed in a museum, La Collection de l’Art Brut in the Swiss city of Lausanne. Another major collection, using the term outsider art, is the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, now on loan to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

related terms and concepts

selected artists in the collection

Artist

Jean Dubuffet

1901–1985
Artist

John Wells

1907–2000
Artist

Scottie Wilson

1889–1972
Artist

Alfred Wallis

1855–1942

selected artworks in the collection