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    Sale 2168

    Post War and Contemporary Art Morning Session

    14 May 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 228

    Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985)

    Le sol de la montagne

    Price Realised  


    Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985)
    Le sol de la montagne
    signed and dated 'J. Dubuffet 57' (lower left)
    ink on paper collage on paper
    53½ x 47¼ in. (136 x 120 cm.)
    Executed in 1957.

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    The present work is a superb example of the series of assemblages Jean Dubuffet executed between 1957 and 1958. They celebrate the most prosaic of all things: the ground. The depiction of soil became the main subject of his works, as he shook up the traditional hierarchy of subject matter in art. The flat-bed representation of soil enabled Dubuffet to experiment with other medium and new techniques. As with many of his works, he very meticulously described in his writings the different steps of execution:

    '..the first step was collecting a considerable number of basic paintings depicting the different elements that compose the surface of the ground, and out of them later cutting pieces and juxtaposing them in various ways... Certain of these elements, intended for my assemblages, were the result of a special technique. It consisted in shaking a brush over the painting spread out on the floor, covering it with a spray of tiny droplets. This is the technique, known as "Tyrolean," that masons use in plastering walls to obtain certain mellowing effects. But, instead of brushes they use little branches of trees-juniper, box, etc. - and they have different ways of shaking them, to get the particular effect they want. I combined this technique with others - successive layers, application of sheets of paper, scattering paper over the painting, scratching it with the tines of a fork. In this way I produced finely worked sheets that gave the impression of teeming matter, alive and sparkling, which I could use to represent a piece of ground, but which could also evoke all kinds of indeterminate textures, and even galaxies and nebulae' (J. Dubuffet, P. Selz, The Work of Jean Dubuffet, New York 1962, pp. 128, 132-133).


    Gimpel Fils Gallery Ltd., London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1959

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property of the George S. Rosenthal Children's Art Trust


    M. Loreau, ed., Catalogue des travaux de Jean Dubuffet: Tableaux d'assemblages, Lausanne, 1969, fascicule XII, pp. 113 and 131, no. 147 (illustrated).