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Art & Culture, Parks & Outdoor, Sculptures

Spectacular Monument au Fantôme by Jean Dubuffet

Posted: February 6, 2017 at 10:58 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

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Monument au Fantôme is the name given to this spectacular eye catching sculpture created by the artist Jean Dubuffet.  In 1983 it was installed at 1100 Louisiana in downtown Houston.  Since 2008 this arresting monumental sculpture has been relocated across from the George R. Brown Convention Center in Discovery Green Park.

Monument au Fantôme by Jean Dubuffet across from the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston

Countless numbers of people are now able to view this impressive abstract piece of art on Avenida de las Americas.  They cannot only view the Monument au Fantôme from the exterior but can also walk inside  and experience it from many different angles.

Jean Dubuffet was a prolific French painter and sculptural artist who died in Paris in the year 1985.  He was 83 years old at the time.

Monument au Fantôme by Jean Dubuffet in Discovery Green Park

This piece of sculptural art was completed in 1983.  People living in the United States might have seen sculptures similar to this one in Chicago and New York.  It was part of Dubuffet’s Hourloupe series.  There are also similar type sculptures located in Europe.

Seven different forms are represented in this particular piece of sculptural art.  They include the following…

  • Tree
  • Mast
  • Dog
  • Chimney
  • Phantom
  • Hedge
  • Church

I know that the next time I walk around and through this figurative monument I will try to identify the different abstract elements that Jean Dubuffet intended to represent.

Dimensions vary on this segmented fiberglass sculpture.  The interior structure is composed of a framework of steel with a fiberglass overlay.  The tallest piece is a lofty 33 feet in height.  The primary colors of red and blue are painted along with outlines of black on the white background.

Jean Dubuffet founded an art movement.  It is called Art Brut.  Visionary art created by children or those in mental institutions represents this type of “outsider art.” Unrestrained doodling comes to mind.  Some artists create sculptures using sticks, stones and bleached bones as an example.  Architects have created fantastical shaped buildings fitting this description of Art Brut.

Dubuffet believed that formal art training often stifles creativity. His imaginary and fanciful art pieces are enjoyed in many places around the world.


The Beer Can House in Houston falls somewhere between the definition of Art Brut and Folk Art.  It is certainly out of what would be considered mainstream art.

Houston’s Art Car Museum is filled with unconventional art and surprising vehicles which certainly arrest one’s attention.  Many people have been inspired to work outside of mainstream art.

Just take a look at Smither Park or The Orange Show Foundation to see some good local examples of that.

Sign at the Monument au Fantôme by Jean Dubuffet

Jean Dubuffet set up his own foundation organizing his archives.  There are more than 2,500 artworks of all types represented.  At the present time the Dubuffet Foundation has two locations in France.  One is in Périgny sur Yerres and the other is in Paris.

The public is able to see a large representative sample of what he created throughout his life in those locations.  Working from his models, official reproductions of his work are created and licensed through the foundation.  Loans of his artwork can also be viewed in traveling exhibitions.

Monument au Fantôme by Jean Dubuffet

“Monument to the Phantom” is the meaning of Monument au Fantôme.  Do you see an imaginary phantom in this sculpture?  Or do you see a curious tree, dog or other formation?

Location where you can enjoy this Dubuffet sculpture: 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Houston, Texas 77010.



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