Site aux croûtes noires, Jean Dubuffet
Jean Dubuffet
Site aux croûtes noires
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Jean Dubuffet

Site aux croûtes noires, 1960

555 x 660 x 45 mm
535 x 640 x max. 41 mm
Physical Description
Papier maché, mixture of sand over plaster and tar (?), partially coloured, on press board, framed in wood
Inventory Number
Object Number
17887 Z
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection
Not on display


About the Work

It almost looks as though Dubuffet had proclaimed dried, crusted soil art. At first sight, the framed object looks crude and harsh. Only gradually does it reveal itself to be a relief consisting of papier maché, sand, and paint and surprisingly rich in structure. Here again, as in the ‘Phenomena’ printmaking cycle, Dubuffet’s theme is seemingly formless matter. Something akin to a natural material is obtained here by artificial means. The artist was aiming for an image the viewer would experience with as much immediacy as nature itself.

About the Acquisition

The Städel Museum has the photographer, psychotherapist, philanthropist, and long-time Frankfurt resident Ulrike Crespo (1950–2019) to thank for more than ninety works ranging from classical modernism to American pop art. The paintings, drawings, and prints by Wassily Kandinsky, Otto Dix, Oskar Schlemmer, Max Ernst, Jean Dubuffet, Cy Twombly, and others originally belonged to the holdings of her grandfather, the Darmstadt-based industrialist Karl Ströher (1890–1977), who amassed an extensive art collection after World War II.

Work Data

Basic Information

Site aux croûtes noires (Original Title)
Title Translation
Site of Black Crusts
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Papier maché, mixture of sand over plaster and tar (?), partially coloured, on press board, framed in wood
Geographic Reference
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert mittig links (mit dem Pinsel in Weiß): J. Dubuffet / 60
Verso betitelt, signiert und datiert oben links (mit dem Pinsel in Schwarz): Site aux / croutes noires / J. Dubuffet / Juin 60
Captions Added Later
Verso hs. beschriftetes Etikett oben rechts: D R 3 / 15 F; darauf später ergänzt: 49 [um 180 Grad gedreht]; hs. beschriftetes Etikett daneben: 48 f; gedrucktes Etikett der Firma Hasenkamp mit hs. Ergänzungen unten links: Ströher / Kat. Nr. 4 / Dubuffet [ohne Angabe der Ausstellung]; bezeichnet unten rechts: 15 / [...] 40 [vom Rahmen tls. überdeckt]

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2024
Acquired in 2019 as a bequest from Ulrike Crespo from the Karl Ströher Collection

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif


  • 0 Abstract, Non-representational Art
  • 5 Abstract Ideas and Concepts
  • 2 Nature

Research and Discussion


Object History
Verkauf durch die Galerie Daniel Cordier, Paris/Frankfurt an Karl Ströher (1890-1977), Darmstadt, 1961
Nachlass Karl Ströher, 1977
an seine Enkelin Ulrike Crespo (1950-2019), Frankfurt am Main
Vermächtnis an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 2019.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

The provenance information is based on the sources researched at the time they were published digitally. However, this information can change at any time when new sources are discovered. Provenance research is therefore a continuous process and one that is updated at regular intervals.

Ideally, the provenance information documents an object’s origins from the time it was created until the date when it found its way into the collection. It contains the following details, provided they are known:

  • the type of acquisition and/or the way the object changed hands
  • the owner's name and place of residence
  • the date on which it changed hands

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