Jean Dubuffet: Tribute to Jean-François Jaeger

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Open: Tue-Sat 10am-7pm

5 rue de Saintonge, 75003, Paris, France
Open: Tue-Sat 10am-7pm


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Jean Dubuffet: Tribute to Jean-François Jaeger

to Sat 19 Nov 2022

Artist: Jean Dubuffet

5 rue de Saintonge, 75003 Jean Dubuffet: Tribute to Jean-François Jaeger

Tue-Sat 10am-7pm


This exhibition, originally scheduled to open on February 5, 2022, has been moved following the recent death of Jean-François Jaeger on December 26, 2021, and modified to be dedicated to him in tribute.

I don’t possess, I belong to, was his leitmotif, embodied in the way he practiced his profession as a gallery owner, as a profession of faith. For more than 66 years, with a rare sense of commitment, humility and integrity, he maintained the dedication to excellence instilled by Jeanne Bucher, while following the creative development of outstanding artists and passionately defending their work. The list of his activities is as long as it is rich, both in the gallery and in international museums where he worked tirelessly to support the artists who were the gallery’s mainstays, and on whom his expertise was legendary: Vieira da Silva and Árpad Szenes, Nicolas de Staël, Hans Reichel, Bissière, Mark Tobey, Jean Dubuffet, Asger Jorn, Louis Nallard, Fermin Aguayo, Wilfrid Moser….

The gallery presents a selection of works by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985): paintings, sculptures, drawings and silkscreen editions from the artist’s various cycles, from the 1950s to 1985, including the cycles of L’Hourloupe, Non-lieux, Mires and Psychosites.

The works on paper central to our exhibition—and the drawings in particular—were never considered by Jean Dubuffet to be preliminary sketches. A process that accompanied each of his series, drawing offered him tremendous freedom of expression, whether in his doodles in ballpoint pen in the Hourloupe cycle (1962-1974), rapidly executed while he was talking on the telephone; in his Crayonnages (1974), made with simple colored pencils; or in Récits et Conjonctures (1975), composed of elements that were cut out and/or glued. This also pertains to Sites aux figurines and illustrations for his book Bonpiet beau neuille, as well as to Mires and Non-Lieux, which, along with Activations, would be Dubuffet’s last series, produced just a few weeks before his death in 1985. Together, this ensemble invites visitors to follow Jean Dubuffet and the immense creativity he demonstrated with his pen in hand.

This exhibition is being held in parallel with the Jean Dubuffet retrospective at the Fondation Gianadda in Switzerland, organized in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou, Paris, from December 3, 2021, to June 6, 2022.

Jean Dubuffet’s first contacts with the Jeanne Bucher gallery date back to 1931, ninety years ago.
Visiting the Marcoussis exhibition on the rue du Cherche-Midi, the young Dubuffet, who had just turned thirty, was looking for a gallery to represent his work. He signed the visitors’ book with a prophetic sentence: We will surely end up meeting each other somewhere, one day or another. While she recognized his talent, Jeanne Bucher never exhibited the Le Havre-born artist. Thirty years later, when Daniel Cordier, Dubuffet’s dealer, closed his gallery, the artist’s words would finally take on their full significance.
Dubuffet was soon, through the intermediary of Jean Planque, whom Ernst Beyeler had asked to scout out new artists and masterpieces for his gallery in Basel, represented exclusively for the next 10 years by the Beyeler Gallery in Basel as well as by the Jeanne Bucher Gallery in Paris.
Following the somewhat controversial exhibition of Dubuffet’s Hourloupe cycle at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in the summer of 1964, the first show of the artist’s work was held at the gallery on December 8, 1964.

Jean-François Jaeger who had recently moved the Gallery Jeanne Bucher in its new site rue de Seine, remembers carefully his first meeting with Jean Dubuffet. After speaking to him about his work, Jean Dubuffet interrupted him, saying, There’s no point in trying to explain to me what I’m trying to do at present. I don’t actually know what it means myself.

Thus, in 1964, began a long and passionate collaboration that would result in twenty monographic exhibitions at the gallery as well as numerous collaborations with international institutions, all thanks to the commitment of Jean-François Jaeger, who has worked directly with Jean Dubuffet all these years and worked more than 40 years to promote his work, joined by Frédéric Jaeger between 2003 and 2010, by Véronique Jaeger, since 2004, President of the gallery as well as his brother Emmanuel Jaeger, Director of the gallery since 2015.

The gallery’s long history with the artist is full of interesting anecdotes, just a few of which are recounted here by Jean-François Jaeger:

For the exhibition Fiston la Filoche, Peintures Monumentées de 1968-1969, the gallery owner had the challenge and pleasure of imagining a hanging which would surprise the artist by its architectural dimension. “We were on the lookout for his arrival,” Jean-François Jaeger recalls. As soon as the door opened, Dubuffet stood there, stunned and amazed. He walked around the room, and finally uttered a word of satisfaction, which was worth all the certificates of approval in the world.

After the exhibition of the Hourloupe cycle at the gallery in late 1971, Jean-François Jaeger was invited in 1973 by the L’Herne publishing house to write a text on the artist. The result would become a landmark for its daring and inventiveness. In homage to both artist and dealer, the text, entitled Extrait du rapport de l’ethnologue Jenafosicran Egreja – de la planète Logolus, en mission d’étude sur la Terre en avril 2070, can be found in French at the end of this press release.

In response to Dubuffet’s explosive and limitless creativity, the gallery continued to take up new challenges, including, in the late 1960s, the establishment of the company Vacuart in Ivry-sur-Seine, which was imagined by Dubuffet’s friend, the artist Gérard Singer, in collaboration with a specialist from the Institut National Géographique. The company innovative technology and its introduction of the vacuum forming press led to the production of many exceptional silkscreened editions by the artist, such as Personnage mi-corps.

The gift the young gallery director Jean-François Jaeger received from Jean Dubuffet – Autoportrait V, a self portrait dated December 1 1966, – was the artist’s immediate reply to Jaeger’s sentence I cannot mess around with your head… Jean Dubuffet came the next morning with the drawing in hand. One knows today that Jean Dubuffet only made six self-portraits, which he gave to a few friends, including Jean-François Jaeger and the author of his Catalogue Raisonné, Max Loreau.

This tribute exhibition is prepared by Véronique Jaeger and Emmanuel Jaeger in memory of the artistic audacity shown by Jean-François Jaeger while he exhibited Hourloupe at the gallery in 1964.

all images © the gallery and the artist(s)


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