Jean Dubuffet’s “The Cow With The Subtle Nose” is an oil and enamel on canvas painting created in 1954 in the Art Brut style. The artwork, currently located at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, is 35 x 45 3/4″ in dimensions. Rejecting traditional standards of beauty, Dubuffet embraced a more authentic and childlike approach to image-making. The heavily textured surface depicts a cow, representing a departure from the notion of “high art” and highlighting Dubuffet’s rejection of art education.
The artwork’s significance lies in its contribution to the post-World War abstract art movement from France. Dubuffet is known for his unconventional techniques, evident in his use of materials such as gravel and butterfly wings in his paintings. “The Cow With The Subtle Nose” displays a raw and primitive aesthetic, which embodies the Art Brut philosophy of creating outside the confines of traditional art production. Dubuffet’s approach to image-making resonated with other artists of the time and influenced the development of abstract and expressionist art styles.
Overall, “The Cow With The Subtle Nose” is a significant artwork that showcases Dubuffet’s rejection of traditional art-making standards and his contribution to the post-World War abstract art movement from France. Its textured and childlike depiction of a cow highlights Dubuffet’s unique style and approach to art production.