Jacqueline Bartes

*1928, France

Jacqueline Bartes was born out of wedlock in 1928 in Perpignan, in southern France, not legally recognised by either parent, each of whom was already married to someone else.

Nevertheless, her father looked after her with his wife’s consent until they divorced. Before he remarried in 1933, she was cared for by household staff and was subsequently sent to a boarding school in the Alpes-Maritimes department. She became so gaunt and withdrawn that her father’s new wife brought her home. It became clear in school that Jacqueline had a developmental disability, which led to her attending a special school until the age of 12. During the war, she returned to her father’s family. She was difficult to manage and therefore placed in a church-run institution. In 1951, at the age of 23 and in an emotionally unstable state, she returned to live with her father. Her educational achievement was limited to having learnt how to read and write.

In 1952 Bartes took up drawing. For 10 years she would happily spend each afternoon drawing. She subsequently moved to a care facility near Grasse, where she showed little interest in those artistic activities she now seldom undertook. Jean Dubuffet discovered her in the 1960s, buying about 15 of her works, dedicating an article to her in the Fascicule de l’Art Brut, #4, 1965, and organising an exhibition of her work in 1967 in the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris. She is considered a classic figure in Art Brut. Her oeuvre encompasses around 1,000 items. She worked on a number of different subjects, primarily using Indian ink and coloured pencil. Her formal language ranged from figurative to abstract. Her work can be found, among other places, in the Collection de l'Art Brut in Lausanne, Bruno Decharme’s Collection abcd, Paris, the Amr Shaker Collection, Geneva, and the collection of Karin and Gerhard Dammann.

 

Selected works