Discovered by Jean Dubuffet, who was her first collector and critic, she was the subject of an essay in 2019 by Philippe Dagen, who thought that “the difficulties and enigmas of Jacqueline B.’s work are among the most exciting.” From the 1950s on, and during the two decades of her production, she showed remarkable inventiveness. Passing with a disconcerting mastery from gouache to colored pencils, from figuration to abstraction, from narration to contemplation. The one whose work was exhibited as early as 1967 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and in 2019 at the Kunstforum in Vienna, is today known as a classic.
Born in 1928 to a complicated family situation, Jacqueline B. was entrusted to her father’s housemaids at birth, then sent to a boarding school at the age of five. She came back to the family home when her father remarried and was raised by an affectionate stepmother. Skinny, nervous, rebellious even, she had many difficulties at school, such that she was sent to two religious establishments in succession. But, at the age of twenty-three, even though she was intelligent, she barely knew how to read and write, meanwhile her health was fragile and her behavior remained agitated.
She nevertheless began to draw at the beginning of the 1950s and immediately demonstrated a remarkable inventiveness. Switching with ease from watercolors to colored pencils or to ink applied using a fountain pen, she explored very varied themes and formal spaces with a very poetic grace, going from figuration to abstraction, from narration to contemplation.
Jean Dubuffet, who discovered her in the beginning of the 1960s, acquired some fifteen of her works for his collection and wrote an article about her in the Fascicule de l’art brut no. 4, published in 1965, then exhibited her work in 1967 in what would become the emblematic exhibition for Art Brut at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, before the launch of the Lausanne collection.
For 50 years, very few of Jacqueline B.’s works were available and we are very happy to offer a very representative selection (spanning from the 1950s to the beginning of the 1970s) from this “Art Brut classic.”
Preface : Philippe Dagen
Forewords : Christian Berst
Catalog published to mark the exhibition Jacqueline b : the untamed, from November 30th, 2019 to January 18th, 2020