Dec 5, 2008




Jean Dubuffet

(French, 1901–1985)

Collage (butterfly wings and india ink)

Support: Medium weight white paper mounted on laminated pulpboard

Overall: 26.8 x 36.2 cm (10 9/16 x 14 1/4 in.)

Gift from the Trust of Frank H. Porter 2003.291



Dubuffet’s butterfly wing collages were first exhibited in Paris in 1953 in a group show titled Démons et mervilles. Critics commented on the brutal manner in which the artist had dismembered the butterflies, not using a separating board to part the tender wings and keep the bodies intact; instead, the artist tore the wings apart and randomly distributed their fragmentary remains across the sheet. One critic described the butterfly collages as "Pretty yet catastrophic, iridescent yet lifeless, Dubuffet’s exuberant massacres punctured the superficiality of the butterfly with the depth of the grave." Dubuffet’s butterfly assemblages precede the work of British artist Damien Hirst (born 1965) that incorporates butterflies, such as "Bring Forth the Fruits of Righteousness from Darkness."

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