Until his mobilization at the outbreak of WWII, Benjamin Arneval works on the family farm managed by his brother. During the conflict he starts to suffer from hallucinations. On his return in August 1942, he sees his brother as a “ghost” and kills him. He is then interned in the Saint-Alban hospital. In 1948, at the end of a violent outburst of anxiety, he spends two months doing nothing but drawing. Taking inspiration from his past on the farm, he depicts tools, vehicles, machines, and animals. Extremely meticulous, his drawings exhibit a concern for detail that sometimes leads him to represent his subjects from the inside.
Dubuffet and Oury were already in contact when Arneval began his creative activity. The exchange of letters between the collector and the doctor follows the development of Arneval’s work.