Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985)
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Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985)


Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985)
root and stones
6¾in. (17cm.) high
Executed in July 1954
Leo Castelli, inc. New York
Richard L. Feigen and Company, Chicago, 1963.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owner in 1964.
A. Franzke, Jean Dubuffet Petites statues de la vie prècaire, Berlin 1988, no. 29 (illustrated, unpaged).
M. Loreau, Catalogue des travaux de Jean Dubuffet: Vaches Petites statues de la vie précaire, fasc. X, Lausanne 1998, no. 31 (illustrated, p. 30).
Paris, Galerie Rive Gauche, Petites statues de la vie précaire de Jean Dubuffet, 1954, no. 31.
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Lot Essay

Executed in 1954, Sorcière is a rare and extraordinary sculpture from Jean Dubuffet's very first foray into three dimensional sculpture. Entitled Petites Statues de la Vie Précaire, the sculpture is a direct result of the artist's seminal experiments with assemblage the previous year, in which he worked with unexpected materials such as butterfly wings. Assembled from a motley assortment of discarded raw materials, Dubuffet created fourty-one magical sculptures (of which only thirty-nine now exist), miniature in scale with the majority of them less than twenty inches. Highly coveted, many of them are in European and American museum collections.

Sorcière is made of cork and stone. As in all of the Petite Statues, Dubuffet has preserved the integrity of the medium, altering it just enough to bring forth its latent figuration and tap its expressive power. Its impossibly large head sits atop a gnarled, prunish body, like a modern Venus Willendorf come to life. The animated figure is balanced on its right leg, its back arched and chest jutting forward, performing what appears to be a self-contently gig.


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