'I had a craftsman carpenter, Stanley Rose, make a white pine fireplace mantel and bookshelves in the library, and I hung my favourite Jean Dubuffet painting, Affaires et Loisirs, over the fireplace. It's the last thing I look at every night before I go to bed, and on a neighbouring wall is a small jewel-like Picasso' (A. Williams, quoted in Moon River and Me: The Autobiography, London 2009, unpaged).
Painted in September 1956, Affaires et Loisirs captures a bustling city scene, brimming with optimism and carnivalesque atmosphere of a festival filled weekend. The picture buzzes with life and movement, the chaos of the cosmopolitan scene perfectly distilled into the work. A potent and unrestrained vision celebrating the humanity of city life, the boisterous figures create a series of stirring vignettes. Its title Affaires et Loisirs translating to Business and Leisure, each character tells a tale, reflecting both the arduous and joyful aspects of city life. Dubuffet's interest in sound and music, which he especially developed at this time, seems to intrude Affaires et Loisirs the sounds of the animated chattering seem almost palpable.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Affaires et Loisirs is its provenance, forming part of the esteemed Andy Williams Collection, a permanent mark of distinction. The work was a jewel of his personal collection, dubbed by Williams as 'his favourite Jean Dubuffet Painting' and holding a place of honour in his home. As William recalled, 'Throughout my life, I have always been collecting I could not imagine a life without paintings. I look at my paintings every day. At night I will go into the living room and look at the Dubuffet because I love it so much. Then to the drawing room, to look at the Picasso, the de Kooning, the Diebenkorn. I could not imagine a room without art.' (A. Williams, quoted in Moon River and Me: The Autobiography, London 2009, unpaged).' Williams was as passionate about his art collecting as he was about music, and like Dubuffet, he sought the new, the beautiful, and the challenging with an astonishing eye for finesse.