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Dubuffet, Fautrier, and Paris under the Occupation and in its Aftermath: A Study in the Visual and Textual Ideology of Matter, 1942-49

Perret, Caroline (2007) Dubuffet, Fautrier, and Paris under the Occupation and in its Aftermath: A Study in the Visual and Textual Ideology of Matter, 1942-49. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The aim of this thesis is to contextualise the artistic production of Dubuffet and Fautrier within the ideological framework of the 1940s in France, in particular, to retrace the inextricable and complex interconnections between the fields of the visual arts, writing, and history. The first part shows that from around 1942, both artists developed friendships inside the intellectual circles of Resistance, their work being reviewed in clandestine poetry journals, as well as giving rise to joint publications with eminent figures of literary Resistance. I explain how their aesthetics, in which a demonstrative use of the matter of paint and sculpture played an essential role, opposed the type of art being promoted by the Nazi and the Vichy regimes, and was in itself an act of Resistance. The second part focuses on Dubuffet’s artistic production between 1942 and 1945, and discusses how his series of paintings and accompanying texts express an openness towards the ‘Popular’ and the ‘Common Man’ whose notions demonstrate an adhesion to the ideological legacy of the Front Populaire. I contend that the latter stood for values that had been suppressed during the war, but were being revitalised by those who hoped for the Liberation from the Fascist oppression. The third part deals with the immediate post-war period and asserts that Dubuffet’s and Fautrier’s artistic production was considered to have expressed artistically the stance that Resistant writers had taken against the German oppression in both words and actions, as it conveyed adequately the horrors, but also the more mundane everyday aspect of occupied life in France. In the fourth part, I establish a parallel between the literary and artistic production which made an explicitly experimental use of their respective medium. This, I argue, was instrumental in the development of a strategy to transgress the Dogmatism of the 1940s in which the rejection of the ‘other’ played the most destructive part, from the shooting of résistants by the Nazis during the Occupation to the illegal condemnation of collaborators by resistant heroes in the épuration process at the Liberation. The fifth part locates the work of Dubuffet and Fautrier within the artistic debates of the immediate post-war period whose polarisation, I argue, reflected the more general political division at the beginning of the Cold War. It questions the retrospective appropriation of Dubuffet’s and Fautrier’s artistic production into the diverse notions of Art Informel, Abstraction Lyrique, and Tachisme to which neither artist adhered since all failed to address the essential role that the matter of paint and sculpture had played in their development.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.507658
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2020 09:36
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2020 09:36
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/26113

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