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Arnulf Rainer (1929)….übermalungen and OUTSIDER ART/ ART BRUT

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This what you first think of when you think of Arnulf Rainer…. he was the first to make ….übermalungen/overpaintings.

And has become world famous with them. Because of this fame and entrance to many collections and art dealers he has become probably the most important collector of Outsider art.

Ever since the early 1960s, he has been collecting Outsider Art: work by people on the fringes of society, including psychopaths, schizophrenics and other mentally ill people.

Arnulf Rainer was still very young when he first encountered Surrealism (an art movement in which madness is regarded as the ultimate expression of creativity). The experience motivated him to collect documents and photographs relating to art and mental illness. Rainer decided to train at the Academy of Art in Vienna, but abandoned the course almost instantly when he found that the teaching staff regarded his art as degenerate. An encounter with Breton, the founding father of Surrealism, also proved disappointing. These experiences in the early 1950s confirmed his belief that he needed to seek inspiration far outside the walls of the established art world. He developed his well-known ‘übermalungen’ (overpaintings), in which he reworked the surface of paintings or drawings by himself or by fellow artists.

In the 1960s he began purchasing works of what would later be dubbed Outsider Art or Art Brut. Via his Czech wife, a psychiatrist, he bought works of art from psychiatric institutions in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. In Vienna, he became friendly with psychiatrist Dr Leo Navratil, who was working at the Klosterneuburg Hospital (now known as Guggin) and offering talented patients, such as Hauser, the chance to concentrate on their art full-time. Rainer bought drawings and paintings by Guggin artists. Navratil in his turn held exhibitions and produced publications and invited Rainer to speak at international medical conferences.

In the early 1960s, Rainer made various drawings while experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs and alcohol to produce a state of mental confusion. He also became interested in the ‘catatonic phenomena’ – the voluntary adoption of bizarre and inappropriate attitudes – sometimes associated with schizophrenia. In 1968 he made his first ‘Face Farces’: black-and-white photographs showing himself in all sorts of uncomfortable positions, with his face contorted into a variety of grimaces, the contours and lines of the image being accentuated with felt-tip and chalk. If you consider the influence of outsider art to the works of Rainer himself , you must conclude that the influence is very strong, but that the Rainer art stands on its own.

There are some very nice Arnulf Rainer titles to be found on www.ftn-books.com

 

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Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985)

It was early February that we visited Paris and ended our 3 day’s in this city with a visit of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Situated next door to the Louvre it is much less known, but the reason to visit was the Bauhaus exhibition which was held over there.  However , it was not the Bauhaus exhibition , but de exquisite Dubuffet collection which won me over. Because www.ftn-books.com has a large inventory of Dubuffet publications ( 24 available items) i searched for this blog the internet and found a great short synopsis on this Art Brut artist.

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Jean Dubuffet disliked authority from a very early age. He left home at 17, failed to complete his art education, and wavered for many years between painting and working in his father’s wine business. He would later be a successful propagandist, gaining notoriety for his attacks on conformism and mainstream culture, which he described as “asphyxiating.” He was attracted to the art of children and the mentally ill, and did much to promote their work, collecting it and promulgating the notion of Art Brut. His early work was influenced by that of outsiders, but it was also shaped by the interests in materiality that preoccupied many post-war French artists associated with the Art Informel movement. In the early 1960s, he developed a radically new, graphic style, which he called “Hourloupe,” and would deploy it on many important public commissions, but he remains best known for the thick textured and gritty surfaces of his pictures from the 1940s and ’50s.

Key Ideas

Dubuffet was launched to success with a series of exhibitions that opposed the prevailing mood of post-war Paris and consequently sparked enormous scandal. While the public looked for a redemptive art and a restoration of old values, Dubuffet confronted them with childlike images that satirized the conventional genres of high art. And while the public looked for beauty, he gave them pictures with coarse textures and drab colors, which critics likened to dirt and excrement.
The emphasis on texture and materiality in Dubuffet’s paintings might be read as an insistence on the real. In the aftermath of the war, it represented an appeal to acknowledge humanity’s failings and begin again from the ground – literally the soil – up.
Dubuffet’s Hourloupe style developed from a chance doodle while he was on the telephone. The basis of it was a tangle of clean black lines that forms cells, which are sometimes filled with unmixed color. He believed the style evoked the manner in which objects appear in the mind. This contrast between physical and mental representation later encouraged him to use the approach to create sculpture.
http://www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/francais/musees/musee-des-arts-decoratifs/parcours/galeries-thematiques/galerie-jean-dubuffet/
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Lucebert (1924-1994)

Everywhere i come across Lucebert (Lubertus Jacobus Swaanswijk) nowadays. Re-editions of his poems, paintings at auction and exhibitions in galleries and museums. There is a huge interest in his works since 20 years or so, but before that period he was hardly known  as a painter , but nowadays he is considered as one of the leading dutch artists from the 20th century . In his early years he was very much influenced by Cobra , but soon he developed his personal style which for me is a crossing between Cobra and Art Brut. He became known for his poems, but when you ask about Lucebert nowadays, people think of him first and foremost as a painter and because of this interest it is harder and harder to find the early publications on his paintings and etchings. There are some by Nouvelles Images, but the most important ones come from the pubvlications series of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Publications in which original etchings were bound and therefore are highly collectable ( and expensive) publications. www.ftn-books.com has a nice selection of classic and collectable Lucebert publications.

for more information on Lucebert visit http://lucebertstichting.nl