Untitled, ca. 1938. Gouache on paper, 26 x 33 cm. Photo: Caroline Smyrliadis, AN Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne. Marking its fortieth anniversary, the Collection de l’Art Brut is showing the little known oeuvre of Eugen Gabritschevsky (1893-1979). This Russian creator's works first met the public eye thanks to their integration by Jean Dubuffet into his personal Art Brut collection, as of 1950.
The son of a renowned bacteriologist, this creator was born in Moscow. After studies in biology and then specialization in genetics, he went on to publish several articles that were well-received in scientific circles. Thereupon, Columbia University (NY) invited Eugen to pursue his research with them; and, in 1926, he set off to pursue his work at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. While thusly on the threshold of a brilliant scientific career, health problems put an end to his plans. He was committed to the Eglfing-Haar Psychiatric Hospital near Munich in 1931; here he would remain some fifty years, until his death.
Eugen Gabritschevsky devoted himself to artistic creation for over forty years, producing a total of some five thousand paintings and drawings. These he carried out on scrap paper and the backs of calendar pages and official circulars, resorting randomly to watercolor and gouache which he applied by brush or finger and then—using a rag or a sponge— shaped into suggestive forms. He would heighten the resulting outlines by brush to spawn monstrous hominoid figures, fantasy world stage scenes and bizarre animals in enigmatic landscapes. He also was wont to experiment other work methods, including scraping, plant element imprints, Tachism and pliage, inviting surprising elements to spring forth. This show treats viewers to the multiple facets of this creator's major and complex production.
Exhibition curator : Sarah Lombardi, Director, Collection de l’Art Brut
Research assistant : Pascale Jeanneret, Curator, Collection de l’Art Brut