"Monument au Fantôme" by Jean Dubuffet in Downtown Houston

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

"Monument au Fantôme" by Jean Dubuffet in downtown Houston

"Monument au Fantôme" by Jean Dubuffet in downtown Houston

Monument au Fantôme

This spectacular, eye-catching sculpture created by the artist Jean Dubuffet is known as Monument au Fantôme. 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.

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

Artist Jean Dubuffet

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.

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 types of 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.

Art Brut

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 develop sculptures using sticks, stones, and bleached bones as an example. Architects have created fantastically shaped buildings fitting this description of Art Brut.

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

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.

— Jean Dubuffet

Plaque near the sculpture

Plaque near the sculpture

Foundation by Jean Dubuffet

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

The public can see a large representative sample of what he created throughout his life in those locations. Official reproductions of his work based on his models are made and licensed through the foundation. Loans of his artwork are also seen in traveling exhibitions. We are fortunate to have his Monument au Fantôme in Houston's Discovery Green Park.

Sculpture by Jean Dubuffet in Discovery Green Park

Sculpture by Jean Dubuffet in Discovery Green Park

Meaning of This Sculpture and Location

“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?

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

What I expect from any work of art is that it surprises me, that it violates my customary valuations of things and offers me other, unexpected ones.

— Jean Dubuffet


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 25, 2020:

Hi Paula,

We are fortunate to have this Jean Dubuffet monumental sculpture here in downtown Houston. It is a beauty!

Paula on August 25, 2020:

Houston should be very proud to show this monumental work of abstract art.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 15, 2020:

Hi Ann,

That is the beauty of sculptures such as this. One can imagine all sorts of things whether or not the artist intended it or not.

Ann Carr from SW England on April 14, 2020:

Well, this is different! I saw animals at first, then tree-like shapes but I find it difficult to find Phantoms, maybe because it is so solid. It's certainly interesting and provocative. I'd never heard of the artist either.

I love all these things which you bring to our attention, Peggy. I think if I came to your neck of the woods I'd be out and about for days on end!


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 12, 2020:

Hi Ruby,

That is what abstract art is all about. The interpretation is in the eye of the beholder. (Smile)

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 12, 2020:

I searched the artwork and couldn't find a dog, but I guess you could find it if up close. It is a beautiful piece of art.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 12, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

Doodling is a form of self-expression unbounded by rules. No one probably told Jean Dubuffet to color within the lines. Ha!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 12, 2020:

Hi Bill,

When you look up Jean Dubuffet, you will find out that he was a famed artist. The Art Brut movement is also of interest to know. Thanks for your visit. It is fun learning new things on this site!

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 11, 2020:

This is most unusual. I find the concept of doodling as the inspiration behind this to be fascinating. Who knows why we doodle what we do.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on April 11, 2020:

I have never heard of Jean Dubuffet or Art Brut. I do like his sculpture and will have to look up some of his other work. We do indeed learn something new every day here on HubPages.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 11, 2020:

Hi Liz,

I do not know if this was Jean Dubuffet's last sculpture, but it was near the end of his life. It is a beauty!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 11, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

It is amazing what we can learn on HubPages! (Smile)

Liz Westwood from UK on April 11, 2020:

This looks amazing. It must have been one of his last works.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on April 11, 2020:

I had never heard of the Art Brut. I do like the sculpture as it is very unique. Jean Dubuffet is obviously very talented.

Related Articles