Art Brut, also known as Outsider Art, started in 1945. The conception of Art Brut was thought of by the French painter, Jean Dubufett. The term means “works executed by those immune to artistic culture in which imitation has no role; in which their creators take all (subjects, materials, transposition, rhythm, style etc.) from their own individuality and not from the base of classical art or stylish trends.”
Art Brut is basically the kind of art where it is created beyond the boundaries of the usual style or that of the official culture. Thus, this was the start and the emergence of the Art Brut movement.
Given this thought, the practitioners and followers of the Art Brut movement, considering the meaning of the term, are not the usual artists. These artists are socially or mentally marginal. So they can be psychiatric patients in the hospitals and other psychiatric institutions, prisoners, condemned, solitary beings and other individuals who are removed from the social circle or the community.
The term Outsider Art is the English term synonymous to the French term, Art Brut, which was coined in 1972 by Roger Cardinal, an art critic. The term is often directed to the artists who are institutionalized and who have little or perhaps no contact with the art institutions and the art world. Most of the time, the works of these artists of the Art Brut movement, were only discovered after their demise. Since they are special in some ways considering that they all live in their own worlds, the artworks that they produced are unusual and may show extreme mental instability. Some of the artworks were also very elaborate in terms of showing the kind of fantasy that they were living in.
The uniqueness of Art Brut or Outsider Art has emerged successful in the marketing category. With this, since 1993, an Outsider Art was held annually in New York. There are also at least two journals about the Art Brut movement; this was due to its popularity and its acceptance to the art world.
The emergence of the Art Brut movement has made a lot of notable artists such as Nek Chand; he’s most famous for creating the Rock Garden of Chandigarh in India; Ferdinand Cheval of France, known for the Palais Ideal; Felipe Jesus Consalvos, a Cuban-American artist; Norbert Cox; Henry Darger, he created 35,000 pages of illustrations and text and other forms of art; Charles A.A. Dellschau, who, while in seclusion for 20 years, he produced 12 large-scale books using different types of media; Madge Gill; Paul Gösch, a schizophrenic artist; James Hampton; Vojislav Jakic, most of his works were a depiction of his life and how he was so obsessed about dying and death; Paul Laffoley and many more.
These artists of the Art Brut movement were mostly secluded in the mainstream of art and had no formal training or were suffering from mental illness. In spite of their illnesses and fear of getting in touch with other people, they have become famous and known because of their Art Brut works.
The development of the awareness of forms of creative expression that exist outside accepted cultural norms, or the realm of “fine art”, began with the researches of psychiatrists early in the century.
The work of Dr Morganthaler documented his patient Adolf Wolfli, a genius who produced countless thousands of works from a small cell in his Swiss asylum. Dr Hans Prinzhorn collected thousands of works by psychiatric patients and his book “Bildernerei der Geisteskranken” (Artistry of the Mentally Ill), published in 1922 became an influential work amongst Surrealist and other artists of the time.
One artist who was particularly affected by the works Prinzhorn presented was Jean Dubuffet. Together with others, including Andre Breton, he formed the Compagnie de l’Art Brut in 1948 and strove to seek out and collect works of extreme individuality and inventiveness by creators who were not only untrained artists but often had little concept of an art gallery or even any other forms of art other than their own.
Dubuffet’s concept of Art Brut, or Raw Art, was of works that were in their “raw” state, uncooked by cultural and artistic influences. He built up a vast collection of thousands of works, works which bore no relation to developments in contemporary art and yet were the innovative and powerful expressions of a wide range individuals from a variety of backgrounds.