Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985)
Cafetière et petit chaudron avec clef
signed and dated 'J. Dubuffet 65' (upper left)
vinyl on paper mounted on canvas
19 ⅝ x 25 ⅞ in. (49.8 x 65.7 cm.)
Painted in 1965.
The artist
Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris and Galerie Beyeler, Basel
Mr. and Mrs. Delbès, Paris
Private collection, Paris
Baudoin Lebon, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1983
M. Loreau, Catalogue des travaux de Jean Dubuffet, fascicule XXI: L'Hourloupe II, Lausanne, 1968, p. 95, no. 157 (illustrated).
Paris, Baudoin Lebon, Dubuffet Retrospective, September-November 1983.
Brought to you by

Lot Essay

Painted in 1965, Cafetière et petit chaudron avec clef masterfully fuses figuration and abstraction, and Dubuffet’s passion for expressing the true likeness of his everyday surroundings is apparent. The eyes buzz with the noise of the multiplicity of the clashing outlines, while at the same time, the loose lines of paint interlock into shapes that unprecedentedly transform the flatness of paint into a sculptural surface. The work deviates from figuration, yet the interaction between the blues and reds with the blacks and whites, creates a textured gradient that recalls the figure. Dubuffet’s embrace of spontaneity, and his ability to express the true likeness of everyday surroundings is revealed through the ambiguous structural composition of the painting. It is both liberating and restricting, exemplifying Dubuffet’s embrace of the ambiguous and his rejection of institutionalized forms of creating. The limited palette affords the opportunity to get lost in the infinite and intricate configurations of Dubuffet’s shapes and lines. The reds and blues allude to the busy cities of France during their glorious thirty-year period between 1945 to 1975, while simultaneously the gloomy grays and dull blacks recall the haunting trauma of World War II that remained present in the postwar era. Cafetière et petit chaudron avec clef ambiguously merges paint and texture into shapes that make and unmake themselves. It pictures an uncontrolled movement of the hand, and reflects Dubuffet’s need to move away from the academy way and into more novel forms of creating. As Dubuffet remarked, “my desire is to make the site evoked by the picture something phantasmagoric and that can be achieved only by aiming at unreality” (J. Dubuffet, quoted in M. Glimcher, Towards an Alternative Reality, New York, 1987 p. 15). Thus, the present painting is an expert manifestation of Dubuffet’s desire to provide escape from the uncertainty of the postwar period of the late 1960s through entrance into his own unreality.

Related Articles

Sorry, we are unable to display this content. Please check your connection.

More from
Virtue | Post-War and Contemporary Art
Place your bid Condition report

A Christie's specialist may contact you to discuss this lot or to notify you if the condition changes prior to the sale.

I confirm that I have read this Important Notice regarding Condition Reports and agree to its terms. View Condition Report