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JEAN DUBUFFET Dhôtel aux trois mèches (Dhôtel with Three Locks of Hair) 1946

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his drawing is part of the series of portraits of writers More beautiful than they think made between August 1946 and August 1947, in oil, acrylic, pencil, and ink. Dubuffet found his victims at the Thursday lunches for artists and writers hosted every week by Florence Gould. It was even said at the time that Madame Gould’s choice of guests was made with the ulterior motive of offering their face up to the artist’s pencil. It was at these events that André Dhôtel had the opportunity to meet not only his great friend Jean Paulhan, but also Paul Léautaud, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Jouhandeau, René Bertelé and many others. The portrait of André Dhôtel is at the same time tender and incisive, expressive without being demonstrative. In the catalogue of the famous exhibition Portraits at the René Drouin Gallery in October 1947, Dubuffet expounded his development of the conception of the portrait: “For a portrait to work really well, I need it to be only just a portrait. At the limit of being no longer a portrait. It is then that it takes its function in all its strength. I like things taken to their most extreme possible limit.” The graffiti-like pencil lines reveal the contours of the head, the glasses, the three clumps of hair and the silhouette evoked by his clothes and his hands. We find ourselves right at the heart of the artist’s idea of portraiture, in the very essence of the spirit of effigy. ––

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David Lévy - TEFAF Maastricht 2018  

David Lévy - TEFAF Maastricht 2018