Independent Gallery

Bernard Buffet

Bernard Buffet b.Paris 1928-1999 Tourtour

At the age of fifteen Bernard Buffet won a place at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The city, then occupied by the Nazis, was under strict curfew.

In 1947 he was awarded the prestigious Prix de la Critique and by the time of his twenty-first birthday he began to gain international recognition.

Bernard Buffet’s style can be easily recognised and reflects the gloomy post-war years. There is very little colour, only greys with a wash of browns and greens, incised with a vicious tracery of black lines. Figures are gaunt and melancholic. His pictures of Parisian landmarks are devoid of humanity. Even when the subject matter is flowers, he succeeds in giving them a certain edge. It is little wonder that he was known as a Miserabilist. Even his signature seems to have angst.

His art is in the collections of many museums around the world. The Surugadaira Museum in Japan is dedicated solely to his work and displays around one thousand items. The founder, Mr Okana, thought that Buffet’s work empathised with both his own personal feelings and those of his nation after the cataclysmic events of the Second World War.

Immensely popular, he held a major exhibition each year until the onset of Parkinson’s Disease meant that he was unable to work as he wished leading him to take his own life.

An exceptional printmaker, Buffet etched all his own copper plates. He was also a master of the lithographic medium.