Artist of the Week: Bernard Buffet

Bernard Buffet (French, 1928–1999) was a painter well-known for his Expressionist works. Buffet was a member of L’homme Témoin [the Witness-Man], an Anti-Abstract Art Group. Buffet was born in Paris, France, and he attended the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts to study Art. Around the same time, Buffet also worked at the studio of Eugène Narbonne (French, 1885–1966). As a struggling young artist, Buffet was supported by a French picture and art dealer while he was working on different works, including portraits, still-lifes, religious pieces, and landscapes.

The artist’s first painting was exhibited in 1946 at the Galerie Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. After that, Buffet held at least one exhibition in each of the subsequent years. The French magazine Connaissance des arts named him number one in a list of the 10 best post-war artists. The first retrospective of Buffet’s work was held in 1958 at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris. In 1973, the Bernard Buffet Museum was inaugurated in the artist’s honor in Surugadaira, Japan. Five years later, in 1978, Buffet was commissioned by the French government to design a stamp depicting the Institut et le Pont des Arts. Examples of his paintings include Tête de Veau (1954), Bouquet (1965), and Still Life (1991).

Buffet participated in numerous exhibitions in different places, including solo exhibitions at The French Institute, Berlin, Germany, in 1959, The Postal Museum, Paris, France, in 1978, and The Odakyu Museum, Tokyo, Japan, in 1995. Apart from solo exhibitions, the artist also took part in numerous group exhibitions, including those at the Salon des Independants, Paris, France, in 1947, and at the Salon d’Automne, Paris, France, in 1948. Major retrospectives of Buffet’s works have been held at institutions including Galerie Charpentier, Paris, France, in 1958, The Museum of Modem Art, Tokyo, Japan, in 1963, and Seedamm Cultural Center, Zurich, Switzerland, in 1983. Buffet received numerous awards for his works, including Member of the Salon d’Automne in 1947, co-recipient of the Prix de la Critique with Bernard Lorjou (French, 1908–1986) in 1948, and Officer of the Légion d”Honneur in 1973. Buffet’s works are held in different public collections, such as the National Gallery of Canada, in Ottawa, the National Museum of Western Art, in Tokyo, Japan, and Ca la Ghironda, in Bologna, Italy. Towards the end of his career, Buffet was unable to work because he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Buffet committed suicide in 1999 in Tourtour, France.



Nature morte, 1955. Water colour and pen and ink on paper, 65 x 50 cm.



Album Paris – Le Sacre Coeur, 1962, (edition of 150). Lithograph, in seven colors, on Rives paper, 55 x 73 cm.


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