French painter, etcher, lithographer, designer and occasional sculptor, Bernard Buffet was born in Paris where he studied at The Ecole des Beaux Arts from 1944-45. Highly precocious, Buffet had his first one man exhibition in 1947 in Paris at the Galerie des Impressions d’Art in Paris and the following year, at the age of 20, was awarded the Prix de la Critique.
By this time, Buffet had already established his distinctive style, characterized by elongated, angular forms with dark outlines, muted colors and a solitary mood. He used a wide range of subjects including religious scenes, landscapes, still lifes and portraits. His work seemed to express the existential alienation and spiritual solitude of the post-war generation and he enjoyed enormous success in the 1950s.
In 1955, he was awarded the first prize by the magazine Connaissance des Arts, which named the 10 best post-war artists. In 1958, at the age of 30, the first retrospective of his work was held at the Galerie Charpentier. Bernard Buffet has had many solo exhibitions world-wide, including New York, Chicago, Palm Beach, Montréal, Vancouver, Tokyo, Osaka, Johannesburg, London, Amsterdam, Bruxelles, Berlin, Zurich, Genève, Rome, Venice, Milan and Madrid. The Surugadaira Museum in Japan is dedicated to collecting his works, boasting nearly 1,000 of Buffet’s works.
On December 12, 1958 Bernard Buffet married Annabel Schob—they would soon have two daughters, Virginie born in 1962 and Danielle born in 1963. In 1971, the same year that he was named Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, his son Nicolas was born.
An exceptional engraver and lithographer, Bernard Buffet embraced printmaking and is also recognized for his remarkable book illustrations. A 1992 poll for the French magazine Beaux-Arts, French people declared preferring Bernard Buffet to Vermeer or Andy Warhol.
“Painting—we do not talk about it, we do not analyze it, we feel it.”
Select Museum Collections:
Tate Gallery, London
J. Paul Getty Museum, CA
Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, CA
National Gallery of Canada