Jean Dubuffet was born in Le Havre, France in 1901. He took interest in art at an early age and in 1918, he moved to Paris to attend the Académie Julian for six months. During his time in Paris, he met Raoul Dufy, Max Jacob, Suzanne Valadon and Fernand Léger. In 1923, he traveled to Italy and South America. For some ten years, he gave up art and worked as an industrial draftsman and later in his family’s wine business.
In 1942, Dubuffet decided to commit himself to becoming an artist. In 1944, he had his first solo exhibition at the Galerie René Drouin. During the 1940s, Dubuffet’s style and subject matter owed a debt to Paul Klee. In the late 1940s, Dubuffet collected Art Brut, a more spontaneous and direct form, sometimes created by untutored individuals such as mental patients.
Dubuffet moved to New York in 1951, returning to Paris the following year where a retrospective of his work took place at the Cercle Volney in 1954. In addition, he has participated in exhibitions at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Palazzo Grassi in Venice and the Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York.