The Friern Hospital Collection

About the collection

The Friern Hospital Collection is a never-before-seen historical group of drawings and paintings created by patients of Friern Hospital (UK) between the years 1930-1960. The hospital’s lead psychiatrist, Dr. Alec C. Dalzell, collected and saved his patients’ works in order to share with staff and students within the hospital. Dalzell was deeply influenced by Hans Prinzhorn’s book, The Artistry of the Mentally Ill (1922), and several of the styles represented in this collection bear a striking resemblance to the ‘schizophrenic masters’ illustrated in Prinzhorn’s work.

This collection represents a new discovery in the field of outsider art, and the works within this collection are rare examples dating from the earliest definition of the genre termed “art brut” by the artist Jean Dubuffet. These works were produced by makers without any formal art training, indeed without even the awareness of itself being art at all. The resulting creative output displays an unfettered directness with a complete lack in inhibition.

Exhibition History

  • Outsider Art Fair (NYC), 2019
  • Paris Outsider Art Fair, November 2018