Jean Dubuffet

Vicissitudes

1977

Artist
Jean Dubuffet 1901–1985
Original title
Les Vicissitudes
Medium
Acrylic paint on paper and canvas
Dimensions
Support: 2100 x 3390 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1983
Reference
T03679

Not on display

Display caption

'Vicissitudes' was made by glueing together paintings on paper that the artist had allowed to accumulate on the floor of his studio. Their chance arrangements and overlappings gave Dubuffet the idea of cutting up the pieces and using them to make assemblages. It belongs to a series of about a hundred collages to which the artist gave the collective title 'Theatres of Memory'. This was because they combined evocations of a number of different places and scenes.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

T03679 The Ups and Downs 1977

Acrylic on paper mounted on canvas 82 3/4 × 133 1/4 (2100 × 3390)
Inscribed ‘J.D. 77’ b.r. and ‘n.42/Les vicissitudes’ on reverse
Purchased from Pace Gallery, New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1983
Prov: Pace Gallery, New York (purchased from the artist)
Exh: Dubuffet Retrospektive, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, September–October 1980; Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, November 1980–January 1981; Joseph-Haubrich-Kunsthalle, Cologne, February–March 1981 (334, repr. in black and white, and in col.)
Lit: Catalogue des Travaux de Jean Dubuffet XXXII: Théâtres de Mémoire, Paris, 1982, no.42, pp.46–7, repr. Also repr: The Tate Gallery Illustrated Biennial Report 1982–84, 1984, p.56 in col.

The French title of this work is ‘Les Vicissitudes’. The particular series of nearly 100 assemblages to which this belongs grew out of making a large number of paintings on paper which were allowed to accumulate in disorder on the floor of the studio. Their chance arrangements and overlappings gave the artist the idea of cutting up the pieces and using them to make assemblages to which he gave the collective title ‘Théâtres de Mémoire’ (Theatres of memory) because of the way they combined evocations of a number of different places and scenes. This painting, which is one of the largest, was made on 21 January 1977 and incorporates as many as thirty-five pieces, some with Dubuffet's characteristic lively hobgoblin-like figures and some with contrasting patterns.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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