Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Woman Grinding Coffee

Artist:
Jean Dubuffet (French, Le Havre 1901–1985 Paris)
Date:
1945
Medium:
Plaster, oil, and tar with sand on canvas
Dimensions:
45 3/4 x 35 in. (116.2 x 88.9 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
In honor of Ralph F. Colin, Gift of his wife Georgia Talmey Colin, 1995
Accession Number:
1995.142
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 911
Known for his raw, childlike images that incorporate unconventional materials and his wry sense of humor, Dubuffet based Woman Grinding Coffee on his wife, Lily. The painting bears little resemblance to her; Dubuffet has flattened the head and broadened the body to completely fill the composition with her frontal figure. Her form is silhouetted against a somber background, which is actually a relief built with droppings, lumps, and furrows combined into a substance that Dubuffet described as "earth fermented by water." This approach exemplifies his concept of "art brut" (raw art), meaning art produced by non-professionals working outside aesthetic norms.
Inscription: Signed and dated (verso): J. Dubuffet/ noël 1945
the artist (to Pierre Matisse); [Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, until 1947; sold to Colin]; Mr. and Mrs. Ralph F. Colin, New York (1947–his d. 1985); Mrs. Ralph F. (Georgia Talmey) Colin, New York (1985–d. 1994; her bequest to MMA)

Paris. Galerie René Drouin. "Mirobolus, Macadam and Cie, Haute Pâtes de J. Dubuffet," May 3–June 1, 1946, unnumbered cat. (p. 35, ill. p. 9; as "Cafetière").

New York. Pierre Matisse Gallery. "J. Dubuffet Paintings," January 7–February 1, 1947, no. 14.

New York. Pierre Matisse Gallery. "Dubuffet: Paintings, 1943–1949," January 24–February 18, 1950, no. 8.

New York. Knoedler Gallery. "The Colin Collection: Paintings, Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture," April 12–May 14, 1960, no. 92 (as "Mouleuse de café [The Coffee Grinder]").

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "The Work of Jean Dubuffet," February 19–April 8, 1962, no. 26 (as "The Coffee Grinder ['Mouleuse de café' or 'Cafetière']," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph F. Colin, New York).

Art Institute of Chicago. "The Work of Jean Dubuffet," May 11–June 17, 1962, no. 26.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The Work of Jean Dubuffet," July 10–August 12, 1962, no. 26.

London. Tate Gallery. "Jean Dubuffet: Paintings," April 23–May 30, 1966, no. 16 (as "Cafetière [ou Mouleuse de café]," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph F. Colin, New York).

New York. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. "Jean Dubuffet: A Retrospective," April 27–July 29, 1973, no. 19 (as "Coffee Grinder," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph F. Colin, New York).

Berlin. Akademie der Künste. "Dubuffet Retrospektive," September 7–October 16, 1980, no. 44.

Vienna. Museum Moderner Kunst. "Dubuffet Retrospektive," November 20, 1980–January 18, 1981, no. 44.

Cologne. Josef-Haubrich Kunsthalle. "Dubuffet Retrospektive," February 7–March 29, 1981, no. 44.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 118).

New York. Pierpont Morgan Library. "Pierre Matisse and His Artists," February 14–May 19, 2002, unnumbered cat. (pp. 110–12).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection," May 18, 2004–June 26, 2005, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Selections from The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection, Part 2," September 28, 2004–January 30, 2005, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Selections from The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection, Part 3," February 15–June 26, 2005, no catalogue.

Peter Selz. The Work of Jean Dubuffet. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1962, p. 31, ill. p. 27.

John Russell. The Meanings of Modern Art. New York, 1981, ill. p. 368.

William S. Lieberman in "Recent Acquisitions, 1994–1995: A Selection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 53 (Fall 1995), p. 66, ill.

Grace Glueck. "When One City Was the Heart of Art's Youth." New York Times (March 10, 2000), p. E39, ill.

William S. Lieberman. "Les Peintres de Paris à New York." Connaissance des arts no. 578 (December 2000), pp. 130–31, ill. (color).

Max Loreau. Catalogue des travaux de Jean Dubuffet. Vol. 2, Mirobolus, Macadam, et Cie. (1945–46). nouvelle ed. Paris, 2008, p. 64, no. 93, ill.

Richard Meyer. "Changing Partners: Richard Meyer on 'Reimagining Modernism' at the Met." Artforum (November 2015), p. 144, ill. p. 146 (color).



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