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Arthur Tooth & Sons, London (no. 5875D)
Waddington Galleries, London (no. WGB13383)
Kusthandel Lambert Tegenbosch, Heudsen
Private Collection, France
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner
Paris, Fondation Dubuffet, Carnets de voyages: Jean Dubuffet au Sahara, 2008
Max Loreau, Catalogue des travaux de Jean Dubuffet, Fascicule IV: Roses d'Allah, Clowns du Désert, Nouvelle Édition, Paris 2008, p. 258, no. 581, illustrated in black and white
Presented here are two early and rare works from Jean Dubuffet's first lengthy travels to Algiers and El Goléa, Algeria, in 1948 – a period of exploration that exerted a considerable influence on his work. Full of the artist's characteristic élan and spontaneous style, these works - Deux Chameaux Bâtés, with its camels and palms, and Deux bédouins, depicting the nomads whose itinerant life the artist greatly appreciated – are not only documents of Dubuffet's significant time in the Northern Sahara, but bold precursors to his Personnages that appear across his oeuvre, notably in his Théâtre de mémoire and Paris circus series.
Living alongside the Berbers of Algeria until May 1948, Dubuffet was energised by the nomadic life of the native peoples, constantly moving and adapting to their changing needs. For an artist who had a similarly polymathic and shifting approach to style and medium, these two works highlight the innate talent of an artist who sought alternative and breakthrough methods with which to approach painting, strikingly going against the culture of the time.
As one of the most influential artists of the Twentieth Century, Dubuffet's wonderfully idiosyncratic and energetic style has inspired many contemporary painters. The expressive directness and brio with which he approached his subjects was unparalleled, honed and crafted from his years of studying Art Brut and during his extensive travels, absorbing the range of cultures of Northern Africa and Europe in the formative years of his career. Deux Chameaux Bâtés and Deux bédouins are superb examples from an important passage of Dubuffet's early years that saw him emerge as a formidable auteur of the European Modernist canon.