Jacques Doucet started painting during the Second World War, but never took part in any formal art education. As he was arrested by the German occupiers, for his membership of banned Communist organisations, he feigned mental illness. He was subsequently admitted to a closed institution for psychiatric patients. In 1947 Doucet met Corneille in Budapest and came into contact with the Experimental Group in Holland. Corneille was instantly impressed by the work of 23-year-old Doucet, who had been inspired by folk art, ‘primitive’ art, children’s drawings and graffiti even before Cobra.