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

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  • Jean Dubuffet, 'The Tree of Fluids' 1950

    Jean Dubuffet
    The Tree of Fluids 1950
    Oil on canvas
    support: 1161 x 890 mm frame: 1190 x 918 x 51 mm
    Accepted by H.M. Government in lieu of tax and allocated to the Tate Gallery 1996 ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2002

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  • Jean Dubuffet, 'Large Black Landscape' 1946

    Jean Dubuffet
    Large Black Landscape 1946
    Oil on board
    support: 1551 x 1186 mm frame: 1575 x 1210 x 57 mm
    Accepted by H.M. Government in lieu of tax and allocated to the Tate Gallery 1996 ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2002

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  • Alfred Wallis, 'Houses at St Ives, Cornwall' ?circa 1928-42

    Alfred Wallis
    Houses at St Ives, Cornwall ?circa 1928-42
    Oil on board
    support: 267 x 318 mm
    Purchased 1959 The estate of Alfred Wallis

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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.