Cerceaux 'sorcellent

Year: 1967

Author: Max Loreau (1928 - 1990)

Artist: Jean Dubuffet (1901 - 1985)

Publisher: Beyeler

Cerceaux 'sorcellent, cover with a screen print by Jean Dubuffet

In the early 1960s, artist Jean Dubuffetdrew some doodles absent-mindedly while talking on the phone. This was exactly the kind of drawing he wanted to make: random, irrational art, unguided by conventions or art theories, but created by the uncontrolled movements of his hand. A new style was born, which he dubbed 'L'Hourloupe'. For twelve years, from 1962 to 1974, Dubuffet worked in this style, which is characterized by seemingly random combinations of oddly shaped 'cells', in red, blue, white and black.

Max Loreau, philosopher, poet, art theoretician and admirer of Dubuffet, described 'L'Hourloupe' as 'an interpretation of reality based entirely on the use of random, swirling tracks, that sometimes jointly conjure a distorted character, or an object, or a completely twisted landscape, if only in a way that is difficult to describe and that appears haphazard'.

Primitive, raw art

This intuitive, unconventional style was typical of Dubuffet, the champion of 'art brut'. He was fascinated by works of art that had been made for pleasure by amateurs, children and the retarded. The less a work of art has been influenced by culture, the more intense and spontaneous it is, according to Dubuffet. He dubbed this primitive, raw art 'art brut', and established a collection of paintings exemplifying it. He increasingly produced work in this playful, colourful and dynamic style. His use of materials was also unusual: he incorporated glass, asphalt and mud in his paintings. He was soon noticed by prominent art critics such as Jean Paulhan and André Malraux, and developed into one of the most important artists of his era.

Dubuffet's critical attitude towards conventions and his quest for a kind of primal art was well received by Max Loreau. Loreau also strove for originality. He too was a man of principles. He resigned from the university to keep his use of language free of social and ideological connotations. Loreau and Dubuffet had been friends since 1962 and wrote each other about matters related to art theory. Loreau published several studies of Dubuffet's work.

Sharing ideas

In 1967 Dubuffet and Loreau collaborated on the book Cerceaux 'sorcellent. This book clearly shows that the writer and the artist shared the same ideas. Loreau seems to have written his poem the same way Dubuffet produced his screen prints in the L'Hourloupe style: strictly intuitively, by association. Loreau's choice of words was mostly guided by sounds and alliteration; end rhyme and repetition of words are techniques he uses excessively in this poem.

Crevasses tirent tir. Flamboie. Fibroie.

Broie proie. Proie. Proie.

Dubuffet produced a total of 21 screen prints, printed in red, white, blue and black, and he also designed the typography on the front cover. The book, printed on cardboard in an edition of 800 copies by the firm La Ruche, was published by two art galleries: Beyeler in Basel and Jeanne Bucher in Paris.In September 1978 Max Loreau broke off his friendship with Jean Dubuffet because the latter'srebellious, fiery character had become too much for him. Loreau however always felt an 'irrepressible passion' for Dubuffet's art.

Cerceaux 'sorcellent, colophon

Bibliographical description

Description: Cerceaux 'sorcellent / Max Loreau ; [ill. par] Jean Dubuffet. - Bâle : Beyeler ; Paris : Bucher, 1967. - [56] p. : ill. ; 27 cm

Printer: La Ruche (Paris)

Edition: 800 copies

This copy: Number 515 of 800 on cartboard

Bibliography: Bénézit 4-777 ; Hogben 140 ; Monod 7280

Shelfmark: KW Koopm A 525


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