1949: DUBUFFET'S REFUSAL
The path of Jean Dubuffet (Le Havre, 1901-Paris, 1985) was marked in three key moments in his life by a bond of rejection and attraction for Venice. The first contact (missed) took place in 1949, when the artist was proposed to organize an exhibition by the Venetian publisher Bruno Alfieri.
Dubuffet responds by defending his own antithetical positions to the system of the time, made according to him of false art and ignoble aesthetic theories, of Biennials, cultural academies, critics and merchants on whom he has declared war for years. He even hopes, in a letter dated 11 November 1949, that the "healthy elements" of the city will set fire to the Doge's Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, throwing out "all those tourists organizing congresses".
1964: THE HOURLOUPE AND THE CELEBRATION OF DUBUFFET
Fifteen years pass and Dubuffet changes his attitude, reserving the preview of his most recent works for Venice, made between 1963 and 1964. The L'Hourloupe cycle gives the title to the "painting exhibition" which was inaugurated on June 14, 1964 in the new space of the Teatro di Palazzo Grassi. The artist had been invited by Paolo Marinotti, director of the same building to present over one hundred works, simultaneously at the Biennale. These pieces have a great critical success and are clearly detached from the material ones of the previous decade, of the Sol et terrains (Sun and grounds) cycle.
Dubuffet enjoys the moment, attends his parties in honor of him and is portrayed in a light suit, bow tie and cigar while, surrounded by elegant ladies, he signs his catalogs. The term he coined, "hourloupe", seems to echo a likely (en) "tourlouper", which alludes to that wandering, scamming, deceiving, scored by the figures that fill the spaces of his canvases.