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Dubuffet’s First Art Brut Edition


Paris: L’Art Brut, 1948. Octavo (18.8 × 13.7 cm). Original side-stapled yellow wrappers with title printed in black; one leaf with frontis and dedication (“A JaNLaNSeLM”), followed by eight leaves of stenciled text and six illustrations; final leaf with colophon to verso. Housed in recent beige cloth chemise. Very good.

Unassuming, yet surprisingly beautiful and important first work of “outsider printing” by Dubuffet, printed on fragile newsprint stock and with six illustrations including linocut prints and woodcuts executed using round camembert boxes and wooden packing cases. One of 165 copies published, of which 15 were numbered, this being an unnumbered copy on“papier journal” (newsprint).

The work is characterized by intentional misspellings and linguistic nonsense, beginning with the title, a phonetic rendering of “l'air de la campagne.” Text in large letters, printed from linoleum, is followed by the striking illustrations combining child-like play with proto-indigenous motifs. As expressed by Dubuffet, books such as these were, among other things, a subversion of the typically French taste for fine bibliophile editions:

“In 1948 the small institute of Art Brut … inaugurated the publication of small books illustrated by their authors and printed with their own hands with makeshift means… these little works were the exact opposite of the received wisdom of bibliophilia. They were as far as possible from the frigid solemnity of the thick and costly paper of luxury printing, the typography of the great publishers, the full margins and the profusion of endpapers and blank pages; they were printed in very humble circumstances with scant resources, in small format on the cheapest sort of newspaper. It seemed to us (it seems to me still) that even so they were just as attractive as the books usually sold to book collectors” (Dubuffet on “LeR DLa CaNpaNe” in the “Notice sur les gravures constituant cet album,” his preface to Vignettes Lorgnettes). As of March 2022, KVK, OCLC show eight copies in North America.

Book ID: 51930

Price: $6,000.00