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New Accession Highlight: Paysage au ciel clair

Although the museum remains closed to help slow the spread of Covid-19 on campus and in the community, we’re highlighting new accessions currently on view in the back Rowland Gallery in a series of articles here on the website. Today we turn our focus to the lovely Paysage au ciel clair, meaning “clear sky landscape,” by artist Jean Dubuffet.

Paysage au ciel clair by Jean DuBuffet

Jean Dubuffet, (French, 1901–1985), Paysage au ciel clair, 1956, oil and collage on canvas, 31 1/2 x 25 1/4 in., gift of Simona and Jerome Chazen, 2019.48.1

Throughout his career, Dubuffet’s work changed dramatically from period to period, as he experimented with atypical materials and techniques. For example, he often conveyed paint to canvas not by brush, but by impressing another painted material (such as foliage or orange peels) onto its surface. Also innovative in this composition is Dubuffet’s use of collage, more typical in paper than canvas. In addition to rejecting tradition, he also fought against what he saw as the bourgeois leanings of art by adopting subjects that might have appeared mundane to others. Many of his paintings and works on paper from the mid-to-late 1950s, like this one, depict earth or the ground as their subject. He referred to his work as “Art Brut” (“Raw Art”).