The Cow with the Subtile Nose (1954) by Jean Dubuffet

The Cow with the Subtile Nose - Jean Dubuffet - 1954

Artwork Information

TitleThe Cow with the Subtile Nose
ArtistJean Dubuffet
MediumOil and Enamel on Canvas
Dimensions35 x 45 3/4 in. (88.9 x 116.1 cm)
Art MovementArt Brut
Current LocationMuseum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US

About The Cow with the Subtile Nose

“The Cow with the Subtle Nose” is a notable artwork created by Jean Dubuffet in 1954 and is considered part of the Art Brut movement. Utilizing oil and enamel on canvas, this unique animal painting measures 35 by 45 3/4 inches (88.9 by 116.1 cm). It is currently housed in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, NY, United States.

The artwork captures the image of a cow, executed in a style that reflects Dubuffet’s interest in art that exists outside the boundaries of traditional fine art, particularly that made by the untrained or mentally ill, which was often categorized as ‘outsider art.’ The cow is depicted with a raw, almost primeval representation, featuring an abstracted form and a patchwork of textured and earth-toned colors. The composition suggests a certain playfulness with the animal figure, where some features like the outlined eyes and the nuanced shading give it a peculiar character, akin to the ‘subtle nose’ referred to in the title.

Dubuffet’s technique, involving thick applications of paint, contributes to a tactile quality that gives the artwork an organic and dynamic essence. Though the piece is distinctly part of the Art Brut ethos, with its disregard for conventional beauty and structure, it retains a presence that is both striking and engaging, inviting viewers to explore the alternative visual language that Dubuffet was pioneering during this period.

Other Artwork from Jean Dubuffet

More Art Brut Artwork

Scroll to Top