Jean Debuffet was born in Le Havre, France. In 1918 he went to Paris to study painting at the Academie Julian but left after sixth months to work independently. By 1924 he had given up on art and took over his father’s wine business, not painting again until 1933. He began to produce masks and puppets, but this bout of creativity was short-lived and it was not until 6 years later that Debuffet dedicated himself to a career in art.
Jean Debuffet’s first solo exhibition was at the Galerie Rene Drouin in Paris in 1944. Around this time, he associated with Andre Breton, George Limbour, Jean Paulhan, and Charles Ratton and was influenced by Paul Klee. Dubuffet lived in New York for a time before moving to Paris, where he held his first retrospective in 1954.