There is evidence to show that as categories of mental illness are constructed, and hospitals created in Europe and elsewhere, doctors of asylums, and mental hospitals, pay attention to patient's creative output and production. Records from 1793 show that Dr. Phillippe Pinel (1745-1826), Europe, allowed his patients to continue to create objects. In 1810, in Britain, the publication of Illustrations of Madness by John Haslam was printed. In 1892, psychiatrist James G. Kiernan organized the conference in Chicago, USA, about the art of the mentally ill. At the conference, he spoke about its similarity to 'primitive' art. While art history tells us a series of drawings by William Blake (1757 -1827) were inspired by his visions, 1819, and Victor Hugo (1802-1885) created mediumistic drawings in 1853. The 'naive' painter, Douanier Rousseau (1844-1910), painted while he worked in a toll booth (?) in 1877. In the Nazi exhibition, Entartete "Kunst" (Degenerate Art), 1937, patient artworks were shown beside modern artworks and argued towards the material proof of the sick mind of the modern artist. As a result, the lives of patients and artists were endangered, and some taken.
The following list is a selection of the European 20th century story of Art Brut with some of the major connections to Modern Art only in the context of first exhibitions and collections of Art Brut, or Outsider Art. There are too many entries for exhibitions to list here, i.e. group, touring, etc.
[In his book entitled, The Discovery of the Art of the Insane, John MacGregor describes in depth how doctors, the public, art society, and artists, viewed and valued the art of the insane, covering 17th to 2oth centuries.]
The Collection de l'Art Brut Lausanne, Switzerland, 2007. Photo: L. Moriarity.
The Art Brut Story was compiled from the following sources:
Art Brut, Collection abcd. Safarova, Barbara, and Zemankova, Terezie. Catalogue. Prague: City Gallery Prague, Editions. 2006.
Jean Dubuffet: Works, Writings, Interviews. da Costa, Valerie, and Hergott, Fabrice. Barcelona: Ediciones Poligrafa. 2006.
Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art. Tuchman, Maurice and Eliel, Carol S. California: Princeton University Press, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 1992.
Hans Prinzhorn Collection, Denmark, Web Site, Accessed March, 2007. http://prinzhorn.uni-hd.de
The Exhibition of artworks by the insane (patients), Bethlem, London Royal Hospital, London, England, 1900.
Chief Dr. Auguste Marie, asylum at Villejuif, France, opens the Musée de la folie (Museum of Madness), 1905.
L'Art chez les fous: le dessin, la prose, la poesie (The Art of the Insane: Drawings, Prose and Poetry) by Marcel Reja, published in French, stresses the artistic value of the art work of patients, including visual art, poetry, prose, music and dance, 1907. The artworks printed are from Dr. Auguste Marie's collection.
The psychiatric clinic in Heidelberg, Germany, assembles a study collection: Lehrsammlung, 1909.
Patient's artworks are exhibited in the 1st DADA exhibit organized by Max Ernst (1891-1976) and Johannes Baargeld (1892-1927) in Kunstverein in Cologne, 1919.
Zinglers Kabinett, Heidelberg, first exhibition at Frankfurt's Gallery, and Gallery Garvens in Hannover, 1921.
Bildnerei der Geisteskranken (Artistry of the Mentally Ill) is published in German with illustrations, 1922. The author, collector, Dr. Hans Prinzhorn, at the Heidelberg clinic, collects many works from mental hospitals. Modern artists are enthusiastic by the book, his colleagues are reserved. Modern Artists who are influenced by its release include: Surrealists, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Jean Dubuffet, etc.
The Surrealist manifesto published celebrating the art of the insane and creative automatism, 1924.
The Exhibition of patients made public by Dr. Charles Ladame (1871-1949) Geneva, Switzerland, 1924.
Prinzhorn Collection, Heidelberg, exhibits in Paris, Geneva, Basel and in nine German cities (mainly at art associations); Hans W. Gruhle is in charge, 1929-33.
Andre Breton writes Le Message automatique, which addresses mediumistic inspiration in art and automatic drawing, 1933.
The artistic expression of patients/artists is encouraged at Sainte-Anne Hospital, Paris, France. Art works are shown throughout the hospital common rooms, and offices. Dr. Gaston Ferdière, (late 1930s) collected art works and spent time with Andre Breton, Alberto Giacometti, and Marcel Duchamp. Artists from the public attended his lectures/courses in clinical psychiatry. 1934-38.
The Nazi exhibition, Entartete "Kunst" (Degenerate Art), organized by Joseph Goebbels. Hans Prinzhorn's successor Carl Schneider at the Heidelberg clinic 1937. The artwork of patients are shown with the artwork of modern artists and considered material proof that modern art is pathological. Modern art works by Otto Dix, Paul Klee, Marc Chagall, Emil Nolde, Wassily Kandinsky and others. From now, during reconstruction, and until 1963 the Prinzhorn Collection is stored in an attic, Heidelberg.
The collection of art works by artists/patients of Dr. Gaston Ferdière, now Director of the Psychiatric Hospital in Rodez, France, is shown at the Musée Denys Puech. Artonin Artaud is patient/artist at Rodez. At the end of the WWII, Jean Dubuffet visits both Artaud and Dr. Ferdière. 1945
Exhibition at Saint-Anne Hospital of artist/patient of over 200 art works, notable as a quick reply to Nazi suppression of art of artists/patients. 36 pieces from Rodez were sent by Dr. Ferdière. Painter, Joan Miro, recorded his visit. 1946.
The term Art Brut is invented by artist Jean Dubuffet, Paris, France, 1940s. He visits mental hospitals in France and Switzerland, and he begins to collect the art of patients. He writes major articles and manifests on Art Brut: Art Brut Prefere aux Arts Culturels (1947), Propectus aux Amateux de tout genre (1946).
Foyer de l'Art Brut is established in the basement of Rene Drouin's gallery at Place Vendome, Paris, and works are exhibited by patients/creators. 1947.
Compagnie de L'Art Brut is founded by Slavko Kopac, Jean Dubuffet, Andre Breton, Jean Paulhan, Charles Ratton, Henri-Pierre Roche, and Michel Tapie, 1948. Artworks are shown in clandestine spaces. Artist Slavko Kopac was director, secretary, curator and archivist. Those introduced to the work through exhibitions include: Jean Cocteau, Pierre Matisse, Karel Appel, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Joan Miro. The artist collective Cobra is also founded, which includes drawings by children, mentally ill, automatic, and mediumistic.
L'Art Brut prefere aux arts culturels (Art Brut preferred to Cultural Art) is the first exhibition of Jean Dubuffet's collection at Rene Drouin's Gallery, 1949.
International Exhibition of Psychopathological Art, Saint-Anne Hospital, showed over 2,000 art works from 45 collections. One critic wrote, 'The parallels between the works of patients and the art of 20th Century painters - expressionists, surrealists, and certain pure abstract painters - is established without a doubt.' 1950.
1950s, Compagnie de L'Art Brut dissolves. The collection d’art brut is moved to the house estate of Alfonso Ossorio, The Creeks, East Hampton, New York, USA in 1952. It stayed there for 10 years. Many American and European artists came to visit the collection: Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Clyfford Still, Willem De Kooning, Henri Matisse, Barnett Newman, etc.
L'art psychopatologique, by Professor of psychology Rober Volmat is published, 1956. He makes connections between art works of patients and modern art.
Surrealist exhibition Exposition inteRnatiOnale du Surrealisme, Paris, includes works by Unica Zurn, Aloise, Leonora Carrington, and Meret Oppenheim. 1959-60.
The Collection de L'Art Brut returns to France from America, reclaimed by Jean Dubuffet, 1962. Compagnie de L'Art Brut is reinstated at 137, rue de Sevres, Paris (presently the home of the Dubuffet Fondation in Paris).
Harald Szeemann rediscovers the Prinzhorn Collection, Heidelberg, and exhibits a selection for the first time at the Kunsthalle in Bern, 1963.
Fascicule de L'Art Brut is published (monographs on collectors), 1964.
Physician Maria Rave-Schwank organizes exhibitions of the Prinzhorn Collection, Heidelberg, in Freudenstadt, Heidelberg, Paris, Amsterdam, and Wiesbaden, 1966-88.
700 artworks from Dubuffet's collection are exhibited at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, 1967.
Gugginger Kunstler, Vienna, 1970, the first exhibit of patient’s creations from the Gugging Psychiatric Clinic. Organized by Dr. Leo Navratil.
Jean Dubuffet begins and completes talks for the donation of the Collection de L'Art Brut to the city of Lausanne, Switzerland, 1971.
The book Outsider Art is published, author Roger Cardinal, art theoretician, London, 1972.
Exhibitions of patients work take place in the attic of the Psychiatric Clinic Heidelberg, 1972-77.
After the installation of the Collection de L'Art Brut in Lausanne, the Fondation Jean Dubuffet is established in Paris, 1974.
The book, L'Art Brut, is published, authored by philosopher and art historian Michel Thevoz, 1975.
The Collection de L'Art Brut opens in the city of Lausanne, Swiss. It grows to over 30,000 works. Michel Thevoz is the first director/curator of the collection, 1976.
80s-, Prinzhorn Collection is in numerous touring exhibitions and group shows, throughout Europe, Tokyo, Spain, London, and USA, including Venice Biennale, 1995.
Jean Dubuffet dies, 1985.
Art en Marge centre opens in Brussels, Belgium, 1986. Its purpose is to research and promote Art Brut.
Raw Vision magazine begins publication by John Maizels, and devoted to outsider art, art brut, and other manifestations, 1989.
INTUIT opens in Chicago, USA, The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, 1991.
The Art Brut & Company: A Hidden Face of Contemporary Art exhibit opens at Halle St. Pierre, organized by Martine Lusardy, Paris, 1994.
Outsider Art Museum, Moscow, Opens, 1996.
The abcd Association is founded in Paris by Bruno Decharme, 1999.
Sammlung Prinzhorn museum opens in Heidelberg (Prinzhorn Collection), 2001.
© 2007, L.Moriarity, For education purposes only. This page updated June 2008.