Bernard Buffet

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Bernard Buffet, a renowned and notable French painter and graphic artist, was a true child prodigy, who began selling his art to influential patrons at the mere age of 15. Buffet is regarded as a ‘pure genius’ and a true master in his art. The Surugadaira Museum in Japan is dedicated to his work, and showcases nearly 1,000 pieces of his works. He is ranked amongst Figurative painters who have remained true to their core, and genuinely practiced ‘Social Realism’.

Bernard Buffet was born in July 10, 1929. His great skill and natural artistic talent was evident from a very early age, and it was quite clear that there was simply no other career for him, art was his one and only calling. With his remarkable talent and natural style, at the young age of 15, in 1944, Bernard was admitted into the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. He commenced an immensely successful career just a year after he began his artistic education and training at the Ecole, by starting as a free artist. In 1947, Bernard gave his first gallery exhibition, however, it did not prove to be as commercially successful and acclaimed as anticipated.

However, success followed shortly after at the age of 20, when the Paris art critics awarded Bernard the ‘Prix de la Critique’, in 1948. This added fuel to his fame, and provided the necessary critical acclaim for influential commission and prestigious patronages came knocking at his door. The same year, Bernard signed a contract with prolific Parisian gallery, David et Garnier, where he began showcasing his new works each year henceforth. Bernard became an active member of the Parisian artists’ group, ‘L’homme temoin’. In 1955, the famous art magazine, Connaissance des Arts, elected him as the ‘most important post-war artist’.

However, Bernard’s own style was unique and distinctive and his art was not largely influenced by any particular movement but rather, went on to develop his own unparalleled blend of the Neo-Realist style. Bernard dealt with a socio-critical approach interlinked with his own views of particular subjects such as ships, flowers, insects, history, cities etc. Some of his paintings from this period include, ‘Scenes of Paris’, ‘Joan of Arc’ and ‘Terrors of War’.

Bernard’s work is dominated by self-portraits, landscapes, a large portfolio of impressive graphic art and huge, massive sculptures. In 1971, Bernard was honored with the appointment of Knight of the Honorary Legion, and a year later, he received his appointment at the Academie des Beaux-Arts.

Towards his last days, Bernard developed the tragic and truly horrible disease, a real nightmare for an artist, Parkinson, which rendered his hands unable to paint. Frustrated and dejected, Bernard fell into a deep depression and eventually, in 1999, he ended his own life by committing suicide. He could not paint anymore, the one thing that he loved above all, and hence, he saw no reason to live anymore.

Bernard Buffet produced a total of 8,000 paintings, which include several drawings, engravings, water colors and lithographs. He held around 53 theme exhibitions, some of which includes, ‘Horreur de la Guerre’, ‘Vingt mille lieues sous les mers’, ‘La Révolution Francaise’, ‘Souvenirs d’Italie’, ‘L’enfer de DANTE’, ‘Jeanne d’Arc’, ‘la Chapelle de Château l’Arc’ , ‘La Passion du Christ’, ‘Portraits d’Annabel’, ‘Les ecorches’, ‘Les Clowns Musiciens’, ‘L’Empire ou les plaisirs de la guerre’, ‘Promenade Provencale’ and ‘Sept peches capitaux’.

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