Woman Grinding Coffee

Jean Dubuffet French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 900

Known for 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 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 in a substance that Dubuffet described as "earth fermented by water." The approach exemplifies his concept of art brut (raw art), meaning art produced by nonprofessionals working outside aesthetic norms.

Woman Grinding Coffee, Jean Dubuffet (French, Le Havre 1901–1985 Paris), Plaster, oil, and tar with sand on canvas

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