- Bernard Buffet, the intransigence of a fiercely independent personality
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For his first exhibit in 1946 in a bookshop on rue des Ecoles, Bernard Buffet was 18 year old. As he had no money to buy canvas, he painted on sheets stolen from his grandmother’s closets.
Raymond Cogniat had the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris acquire a still life in 1947. At 20 years of age, he won the Critic’s Prize. Then, his reputation was complete. Emmanuel David discovered him and offered him a contract.
In 1955, a survey in Connaissance des Arts referred to Buffet as the best painter of his generation.
He prepared a thematic exhibit each year in Paris in the Galerie Maurice Garnier, (The Horrors of War, Joan of Arc, Bullfighting, The French Revolution, Don Quixote…).
The ascetic style and often-austere inspiration of his much sought after first works (flogging, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection), marked people’s minds.
He calmly faithful to his own nature never stopped toiling following his promising debut. Ignoring the sulks of his critics, this hard worker (approximately 8,000 works) showed the intransigence of a fiercely independent personality all his life.
His self-confident drawings are all straight lines and tensions, brushed with great gestures, the purity of the acute and sharp line as his signature which came to nourish the rich material as a hallmark of his famous angular graphics, comparable to sword blows on paper.
He is one of the figurative artists in the immediate post-war period that has had the strongest influence on all the painters of his generation.
In 1973 the Bernard Buffet Museum, founded by Kiichiro Okano, opened in Surugadaira in Japan.
Bernard Buffet, Rétrospective
Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris
From October 14th 2016 to March 5th 2017
A retrospective of the work of Bernard Buffet, one of the most famous French painters of the 20th century, but also one of the most contentious. In a choice of a hundred paintings this exhibition takes a fresh look at an oeuvre which in fact remains little known to the public at large.
Video by Paris Musées, on Dailymotion