Bernard Buffet.retrospective.October 2016-February 2017

The little art seeker adores the modern art museum in Paris.This incredible place devotes a huge retrospective to the French painter Bernard Buffet died in 1999 .


Buffet was seen by many as a Saint Germain des Prés artist,a commercial one whose paintings were done in the same way.

In fact , the man painted during all his lifetime and was able to vary all his subjects and his manner of painting, to take on history painting and comic-strip style and to come close to an aesthetic that was pop and punk.

The exhibition is divided into three main sections:inventions of a style(1945-1955).Rage to paint (1956-1976) and Mythologies.(1977-1999).


Buffet was a great lover of bullfights and devoted several paintings to the theme and the exhibition begins with a huge painting of a corrida.

The black bull is the central figure of all the paintings and the scene here is a pretext for luxuriant colours.







The corrida.1966.Bernard Buffet

After the second world war , many artists turned themselves towards abstraction.While studying at the Ecole des beaux-arts,Bernard Buffet spent a lot of time learning in the Louvre observing Courbet and Chardin’s canvases .For a moment he took part in the jeune peinture movement,which tended towards realism ,his paintings were very angular with neither shadow nor depth and distinguished by a style of lavish poverty.These paintings were noticed by critics and art collectors and at the age of 19 he was awarded the critics’prize.

Visit Paris and its museums.

The studio.1947.









Self -portraits from the artist .









Man seated in his studio.1949.Pierre Bergé.1950.Great white naked.1948            15045238_1172718012825853_1269550319_o     15053271_1172718659492455_1643001416_o15051918_1172717486159239_2116917841_o                       








Several pictures of the artist during the 1950-1960’s


Calling on his knowledge for art history,he made use of traditional circus imagery.Le rhinocéros,which evokes Dürer is as much a metaphor of the artist as the clowns are self-portraits .The pubic found those inward-looking faces and pallid skin disconcerting and yet in the 1960’s the reproduction of his clown’s head was successful with copies sold throughout the world.


                                         the circus,acrobats.1995


The circus.The rhinocéros.1955








The trapezists.1955.


Annabel Schowb was a well-known figure in Saint Germain des Prés who met Buffet in 1958 and married him the same year.

A closer friend of Françoise Sagan and Juliette Gréco ,she was a fashion model and a dancer.Her body and her face were to be found everywhere in Bernard Buffet’s work.



Portrait of Annabel.1960

Rage to paint : 1956-1976

Through all his subjects ,Buffet continually painted the same theme, namely things that he found « beautiful close to life,close to death,close to life ».He was asked to paint scenery for ballet,to design cinema posters and to do illustrations.At the beginning of the 1970’s ,he painted alone in his studio and produced works of a great  serenity.Although he was decorated with the légion d’honneur , he remained a very controversial artist,acclaimed by some critics ,castigated by the others.


the museum

In 1964,Buffet presented an exhibition entitled »le museum de Bernard Buffet ».Skeletons of fishes,pinned insects and stuffed birds were lined up in a host of portraits that revealed Buffet’s lifelong bent for the natural sciences













In 1965,Buffet exhibited around twenty colossal « Ecorchés ».The gigantic proportions excluded narrative.In these paintings , he abandoned the usual black rings and explored colours and matter.He piled on his colours like scars on the flesh.










les écorchés.1964


In 1977 after three years of landscape paintings,Bernard Buffet surprised the public by returning to grand themes with Dante’s inferno.H e realized monumental sequences inspired by his boyhood reading .The hero he depicted :Dante, or Nemo were self-portraits.It was also a period aboad in Japan, Russia ,St Petersburg.Yet  in spite of all that ,the press hardly mentioned his exhibitions and none of the French museums bought his works or exhibited them.Buffet was compared to the pop artists or the narrative figuration artists and Warhol considered him to be a great painter.The painter who knew he was very sick and condemned by the Parkinson illness wiil put an end to his career by comitting suicide.The end of the exhibition displays beautiful videos showing the artist creating in his studio under his son’s eyes.For Buffet painting was all his life and a life without painting was definetely meaningless.

The little art seeker was totally moved by this painter who displayed a great talent and originality in hsi work and recommends you this exhibition warmly.


L’enfer de Dante,damnés pris dans les glaces.1976


Vingt mille lieues sous les mers,le hublot géant du Nautilus.1989


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