Jean Dubuffet

Hopes and Options


Not on display

Jean Dubuffet 1901–1985
Original title
Voeux et options
Polyvinyl acetate paint and acrylic paint on foam on metal stand
Object: 2521 × 4128 mm
Presented by Alistair McAlpine (later Lord McAlpine of West Green) 1972

Catalogue entry

Jean Dubuffet born 1901 [- 1985]

T01575 Voeux et Options (Hopes and Options) 1971

Inscribed 'J.D.71' b.r. and '28 | Voeux et options' on the back
Polyvinyl-acetate and acrylic on Klégécell, 99 1/4 x 162 1/2 (252 x 405) on metal stand
Presented by Alistair McAlpine 1972
Prov: With Waddington Galleries, London (purchased from the artist); Alistair McAlpine, London, 1972
Exh: Jean Dubuffet, Waddington Galleries, London, June-July 1972 (55, repr. in colour)
Lit: Max Loreau, Catalogue des Travaux de Jean Dubuffet XXVI: Dessins 1969-1972 (Paris 1975), pp.9-10, 77, 85 (see Nos.209 and 225); Max Loreau, Catalogue des Travaux de Jean Dubuffet XXVII: Coucou Bazar (Paris 1976), No.28, pp.7-13, 15-16, 33, repr. p.33

As a further development of the 'Hourloupe' theme [see also T00869 and T00870], Dubuffet began in March 1971 to make a number of coloured drawings crowded with contrasting shapes and with many areas boldly striped in colour. His intention was to use these as maquettes for cut-out enlargements, whose irregular edges would correspond with the outlines of the model on paper, and he began by making two enlargements on solid supports which were hung on the wall like paintings, but marked a departure from the traditional rectangular format. However the idea then came to him of using the wider ones which evoked vague landscapes as a background for figures, and later of creating a vast spectacle of landscapes and figures which could be assembled in different combinations and relationships. He called these flat moveable paintings 'Praticables', a word which means in its strict sense a piece of stage scenery which is 'practicable': that is to say, something which is not simply painted or represented but which has a real existence, such as a door that can be opened or a balcony someone can stand on. Altogether more than a hundred 'Praticables', painted on Klégécell cut-outs and mounted on legs with rollers, were made over the period May 1971 to July 1973, some of them figures, animals or objects, and others suggesting vague landscapes or more specific environmental features such as a kiosk or a doorway. The spectacle which they produced when grouped together was given the name 'Coucou Bazar'.

The starting-point for this particular 'Praticable' was a series of seven drawings of different shapes and sizes made on 3 April 1971 with coloured felt pens (P197) which he assembled together, on 11 May, to form a compact block (P213). The drawings were cut out following the outlines, and then stuck down on another sheet of paper, the assemblage involving a limited amount of overlapping.

The 'Praticable' itself was finished in August 1971 and, like all the early 'Praticables' up to November 1971, was executed in Dubuffet's studio in the Rue Labrouste in Paris, the actual execution being carried out by assistants under his direction. Though three of the original drawings had a slightly figure-like appearance, they were turned at right angles in the process of assemblance, so that all suggestion of figures tended to disappear.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.185, reproduced p.185

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