Outsider Art

1 ) My personal approach towards Outsider Art

The disappearance of insects. Pesticides. Intensive culture
Insectus bizarrus

The Outsider sculptures appeared for the first time in my works in 1996, with the series “Machines and Men”. This series, which had fun mixing clay modeling with recuperations of waste products in wood or iron, marked a real turning point in my creative process.

After making these characters riding improbable machines, I started to collect pieces of wood. I wanted to make animals that would have accompanied humans. But little by little, these animals which were mainly birds started to take off, and ended up being all alone on the front of the stage. It gave a first series which I called:

Funny birds

Three other series followed these birds by declining the possibilities offered by this technique, with roots first, by adding clothes thereafter, and finally by making associations of characters, half animals half human. Those new series were :

Dances and other devils

Fashion and appearances


What is Raw Art ?

  • In the first half of the 20th century, many doctors began to collect the drawings and paintings of their patients. Collections are assembled by Hans Prinzhorn in Heidelberg in Germany, and the doctor Morgenthaler in Bern.
  • Dubuffet, who has visited several of these psychiatric hospitals, begins to collect this type of work. In 1945, “Dubuffet baptized “ART BRUT” (RAW ART) an art which he had been collecting for several years, art which included both the art of madmen and that of marginalized people of all kinds : prisoners, recluses, mystics, anarchists or rebels” Danchin and Musardy in 1995
  • Another definition given by Dubuffet in 1949, during an exhibition of his works at the Drouin gallery in Paris: “By this we mean works executed by people free from artistic culture, in which therefore mimesis, contrary to what is goes to intellectuals, has little or no share (???), so that their authors draw everything there (subjects, choice of materials used, means of transposition, rhythms, ways of writing, etc.) from their own background and not clichés of classical art or fashionable art. We are witnessing a very pure, raw artistic operation, reinvented in its entirety in all its phases by its author, based solely on his own impulses. “(Jean Dubuffet, L’art brut préféré aux arts culturels, 1949)
portrait of Jean Dubuffet
Jean Dubuffet
  • Another definition given in 1964 By Dubuffet himself: “Works having as authors people foreign to the intellectual circles, generally free from any artistic education, and with which the invention is exercised, therefore, without any incidence does not alter their spontaneity.”(Jean Dubuffet, Fascicule de l’Art brut, 1964)
  • Dubuffet constitutes a collection of works which will first be administered by the “Compagnie de l’art brut” in Paris. Faced with the refusal of the French authorities to transform this collection into a Museum, all of these works will be donated to the Lausanne Museum in 1971, where it is still located, under the name of “Collection de l’Art Brut”.
  • Main French places where RAW ART can be found: the Fabuloserie in Dicy, the Franche Creation Museum in Bègles, the Villeneuve d’Asq Museum (which enlarged its premises in 1997 to accommodate the Aracine’s Collection), Fernand Michel Raw Art Museum in Montpellier, “La Halle Saint Pierre” in Paris (with remarkable temporary exhibitions), the “Maison Rouge” (which will close in 2018), the ABCD collection in Montreuil, the Christian Berst gallery in Paris. Of course, the most important Museum of Raw Art is in Lausanne since 1975, instead of being in France. A true shame for the state politic of the France government!!!
  • Some relevant writings on Raw Art : Michel Thévoz, L’Art Brut, Genève, Albert Skira, 1975, 225 p / Françoise Monnin, L’Art brut, tableaux choisis, Paris, Scala, 1997, 127 p. / Laurent Danchin, Martine Lusardy et al., Art ousider and Folk art from the Chicago collections, Paris, Halle Saint Pierre, 1999, 229 p
  • A particularly important magazine at international level: RAW VISION

What is Outsider art?

  • Outsider Art art is a contemporary artistic movement which brings together a number of self-taught creators who have voluntarily or not established a distance from official art.
  • Other names used to designate this type of work: “marginal art”, “raw art”, “franche creation”, “Art hors les normes” or “extraordinary art”. In English it is “Outsider Art”
  • Some artists of this movement: Gaston Chaissac (1910-1964), Robert Tatin (1902-1983), Sanfourche (1929-2010), for the oldest who were dubbed by Dubuffet. But also Stani Nitkowski and Michel Macréau, defended by the gallery “l’oeil de Boeuf” by Cérès Franco
  • The term “singular” is said to have appeared during the event “Les Singuliers de l’Art”, organized in 1978 at the Museum of Modern Art in the City of Paris.
  • Some relevant reviews on the subject: Artension, the wild egg, Hey, Raw Vision
  • Some characteristic events: Festival of Banne (Ardèche), Biennale Hors Normes de Lyon, Festival of outsider art of Aubagne, Festival of outsider art of Miermaigne, Festival Hors-les-Normes of Praz-sur-Arly, Grand Baz ‘ art in Bézu, ArtenSeine Festival in Saint-Aubin-les-Elbe, Dives-sur-Mer Festival (Calvados), Outsider Art Biennal in Dijon
  • some galleries which defend Outsider art: the Béatrice Soulié gallery in Paris, the Singul’Art gallery in Lyon, Le Hang-Art (Saffré), L’Arrivage de Troyes,
  • Some museums or exhibitions’ places, sometimes both raw art and outsider art: Musée de la Création Franche de Bègles, L’Art en Marche de Lapalisse, Halle Saint Pierre in Paris, Musée Henri-Rousseau de Laval,
Famous Naive and Outsider Art gallery owner in Paris, "l'Oeil de Boeuf" at 58 rue Quincampoix 75004 Paris (1972-1994)
Cérès Franco

  • Famous gallery owner of Naïve Art and Outsider Art, who held the Parisian gallery “L’Oeil de Boeuf” from 1972 to 1994. exercised at 58 de la rue Quincampoix at Paris the 4th
  • Cérès Franco is of Brazilian origin. She was born in Bagé, in 1926 in the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. Through her readings and discoveries, she developed a passion for the arts very early on.
  • In 1949 she came to the United States to study Art History at Columbia University and then at the New School in New York. She will stay there almost 2 years.
  • In 1951, she moved to Paris, visited museums and galleries, became an art critic and became passionate about the works of artists whose modes of expression bypassed or challenged the codes in force
  • In 1962, she organized her first painting exhibition in Paris, in a cellar in Saint Germain des Prés. She asked the artists to work on an oval or round format. This exhibition is called “The Eye of the Ox”, and this name will become the name of the gallery which she will open a decade later.
  • from 1962 to 1972, she organized several exhibitions: Forms and magic in Paris (under the patronage of Jean Cocteau), Opinio 65 and Opinio 66 at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. In 1972, the Brazilian government commissioned the selection of the best Brazilian artists for the Bratislava Triennial of Naive Art. For this, it will receive the prize for the best national selectio.
  • in 1972, she opened a gallery at 58 rue Quincampoix which she called “L’oeil de Boeuf”(The eye of the ox), and which would be the first gallery in this street. It is a magnificent intuition, since the Beaubourg Center will be inaugurated in the district in 1977. She supports artists from the New Figuration of the School of Paris (Marcel Pouget, Jean Rustin, Michel Macréau, Jacques Grinberg, Corneille, Abraham Hadad), painters politically committed against the dictatorship of their country (the Brazilian Gontran Netto, the Chilean Marcos or the Greek Gaïtis), but also artists considered to be singular (Stani Nitkowski, Jaber, Chaïba, Christine Sefolosha)

  • While in this period in France reigns Abstract Art, Conceptual, Minimalism … Cérès Franco surrounds himself with figurative works created by artists then in their beginnings (Rustin, Nitkowski) and appears as a real discoverer of talent. The gallery owner forges strong friendships and feeds on friendly exchanges with all these artists. (See on this subject the book of letters from Stani to Ceres). She also likes to live surrounded by their works and naturally becomes a collector of this art which she defends in her gallery.
  • In 1994, Cérès Franco inaugurated two houses in Lagrasse in the Aude and installed the entire collection there, which she opened to the public.
  • In 2010, a first part of his collection was presented at the Fines Arts Museum in the City of Carcassonne. A negotiation is almost finalized so that the Museum receives a complete donation from her collection. The change of municipality in 2014 capsized the operation at the last moment, the new mayor claiming economic reasons to refuse the Franco collection, a treasure of 1,700 pieces of raw and naive art from around the world.
This museum located in Montolieu brings together most of the collection collected by the famous gallery owner Cérès Franco.
The Cérès Franco Collection

  • When Henri Foch, banker at BNP-Paribas learned of the defection of the new municipality, he was revolted
  • He buys the old cooperative wine cellar of Montolieu, an Art Deco style building built in 1938 by an association of winegrowers
  • A new association is created which receives in donation the buildings bought by Henri Foch, and part of the Collection of Cérès Franco.
  • The current President of the Association is Dominique Polad-Hardouin, the daughter of Cérès Franco.
  • This Collection is strong of 1700 works which cover the 2nd half of the XXth and the beginning of the XXIst
  • It includes naive Brazilian and European, South American folk art, works by self-taught people who can be assimilated to raw art (Chaïbia, Jaber, Christine Séfolosha, Philippe Aïni), some historical artists from the Cobra movement ( Corneille) or the New Figuration (Michel Macréau, Marcel Pouget, Jacques Grinberg) and artists that can be classified in Outsider Art (Nitkowski, Rustin)
  • Location: 5, route d´Alzonne / 11170 Montolieu / Tel: + 33 4 68 76 12 54 / Email: info@collectionceresfranco.com
  • Practical information: Open from March 31 to November 4, 2018 / Every day except Monday, from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. / Exceptional opening on holiday Mondays
  • More information: Collection Cérès Franco

a) in summary

  • Suffering from myopathy and confined to a wheelchair from the age of 23, Stani Nitkowski composed on paper and on canvas a fantastic hymn to life, with violence and dazzling passion. He leaves an overwhelming work of great acuity.
  • Quickly abandoning abstraction, he began to draw with ink and exhibited for the first time in 1974. On the advice of Jean Dubuffet and Robert Tatin, he met Cérès Franco who welcomed him into his gallery, the eye of ox, several times. He will subsequently exhibit at the Vanuxem gallery and also at the “Filles du Calvaires” gallery.
  • the artist commits suicide at the age of 52
  • His work as an artist is deeply marked by his illness. His work is strong, black, tortured, like his life

b) Some works by Stani Nitkowski, at the Salon de Figuration Critique in 2017

  • These two paintings were exhibited in the 2017 Critical Figuration fair.
  • Singular Art painting by Stani Nitkowski, probably in 1989.
  • the queen of arles
  • unique art painting by Stani Nitkowski in 1986.
  • the gallant green

c) Biography of Stani Nitkowski (1949-2001)

  • 1949 – Birth in La Pouëze (Maine et Loire). His father is a minor of Polish origin
  • 1972- finds himself in a wheelchair because of his myopathy. Start drawing
  • 1974- first exhibition in Angers
  • 1976- Marries Martine. Lives with her and her two children. The couple will have 3 children.
  • 1979- meets Robert Tatin in Cossé-le-Vivien. Beginning of a small correspondence with Jean Dubuffet
  • 1980- presents his works at the Robert Tatin Museum
  • 1981- comes to Paris, meets Cérès Franco at “L’Oeil de Boeuf” gallery
  • 1982- first solo exhibition in Paris à « l’oeil de Bœuf ». Other personal exhibitions at Cérès gallery in 1987, 1989, 1991
  • 1985- start of a 13-year collaboration with the Vanuxem gallery. Personal exhibitions at Vanuxem in 1985, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996
  • 1982 / 1992- several personal exhibitions in Laval, Nantes, Rennes, Angers, La Pouëze, United States. Many articles and publications
  • 1989- Leaves Martine and the children. Spends a year in Tours, returns to live in Angers where he settles in his last workshop, avenue Pasteur. Martine will take care of him every day
  • 1991- Publication of 40 drawings in a work edited by Pierre Dukan: “Written with his own blood”
  • 1993- Retrospective: “Twenty years of painting”, at the Pilori Museum in Niort.
  • 1999- last exhibition during his lifetime, with the black paintings “Between flesh and body”, galleries of the girls of Calvary (Paris)
  • From 1999 to 2001, participation in some collective exhibitions and fairs (Paris, Angers, etc.)
  • February 2001- Death of his musician son Flavien
  • April 2, 2001- Suicide by Stani Nitkowski
  • 2002- “The magic skylight”, gallery ideas of artists
  • 2003- “Le grand bond”, Salle Chamelier, Angers
  • 2006- “Parcours”, gallery Ideas by artists, Vanuxem and Sellem, Paris- Auberives Abbey, Haute-Marne
  • 2006- Publication of a monographic work, editions of the Abbey of Auberives.
  • 2011- “Hommage”, Polad-Hardouin gallery
  • 2016- “The Singular Spirit”, collection of the Abbey of Auberives, Halle Saint Pierre de Paris
  • 2017- exhibition of 7 paintings and 7 drawings in “Bastille Design Center” of Paris, with the Critical Figuration Salon
  • Biography taken from “Stani à Cérès, letters from a friend” (2011), Polad-Hardouin gallery