Haute Pâte / Matter Painting

The term Haute Pâte (English: Matter Painting) refers to the raised, relief-like structure of a painting. More specifically, the term describes particular groups of work in artists’ oeuvres, and the paintings of the French Informel artists Jean Fautrier (1898-1964) and Jean Dubuffet (1901-85). Between 1943-45, Fautrier executed the series "Les Otages" (The Hostages). He pasted paint in layers onto the canvas, much like a relief, and linked the paint material with the paper stuck underneath it via grooves and scratches. This allowed him to raise the partially hidden and highly distorted faces of the hostages to the picture’s surface. Jean Dubuffet also executed various works employing the Haute Pâte method. Dubuffet’s works was characterised by two main formal approaches: Firstly the application of paint to the canvas in a paste form, so that the different textures were able to react with one another, or produce cracks and curled up edges during the drying process. Secondly, adding mixed materials such as sand and gravel (but not tar, as previously believed) to paint and placing laces, shards, chips and pebbles underneath material before it had dried. Dubuffet carefully wrote out the formula for his paintings in his studio notebooks.
This plastic approach to painting, which released the material character of paint, resulted in an entirely new reception of art. Rather than simply being presented with a flat image, the beholder was exposed to an almost haptic, graspable surface, which penetrated space.
Other exponents of Haute Pâte art included Bram Bogart, Marc Mendelson, Bernard Schultze, Antoni Tápies and Jaap Wagemaker