Contrary to popular art lore, Jean Dubuffet was never actually an Art Brut artist. Dubuffet briefly studied painting at the Académie de Julian in Paris, moved in art circles with artists such as Fernand Léger and Juan Gris, and, after a brief stint in the family wine business, finally devoted himself fully to art making in 1942. Nevertheless, like his contemporary Paul Klee and others artists at that time, Dubuffet was fascinated by art made outside the art establishment like children’s drawings and art by the mentally ill. According to Dubuffet, “A work of art is only of interest, in my opinion, when it is an immediate and direct projection of what is happening in the depth of a person’s being.. ..It is my belief that only in this Art Brut can we find the natural and normal processes of artistic creation in their pure and elementary state.” (Prospectus et tous écrits suivants, Vol. II, Jean Dubuffet, Gallimard, Paris 1967). An extraordinary collection of Dubuffet’s drawings from 1935 until 1962, currently on view at the Morgan Library, perfectly showcases the channelling of this pure and elementary state, as in, for example, this wonderful gouache from 1943 depicting ordinary Parisiens in the Metro. Despite inspired by the colors and stylistic simplicity of children’s drawings, the scene, nevertheless reveals Dubuffet’s artistic genius. Deliberately set within the claustrophobia of a metro car in Nazi-occupied Paris, the passengers fit neatly in well-ordered rectangles not daring to fall out of line, as the “Rauchen Verboten” (Smoking not permitted) sign sternly admonishes. Through January 2.