Bernard Buffet

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A modern French master of painting, lithography and etching, Bernard Buffet entered the Paris Ecole des Beaux-Arts at the young age of sixteen. He preferred, however, to spend most of his student hours studying the works of Rembrandt, David and Courbet at the Louvre.

Buffet's lithographs have for many years been famous throughout the world. His bold and very personal form of expression has placed him among the most sought after and respected contemporary masters of figurative and landscape art.


Bernard Buffet was born July 10, 1928 in Paris, died on October 4, 1999 in Tourtour (Var - France).

In December 1943, he entered the « Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts » where he studied for two years. After this he worked alone.

In 1946, he had his first painting shown, a self-portrait, at the Salon des Moins de Trente Ans at the Galerie Beaux-Arts.

In 1947, he exhibited « L'homme accoude » at the Salon des Independants and in December of the same year he had his first solo exhibition , at the Art Impressions book shop in Paris, organised by Guy Weelen and Michel Brient. Raymond Cogniat bought, for the Paris National Museum of Modem Art, a painting entitled « Nature morte au poulet ».

In April 1948, the painting « Le Buveur » was exhibited at the « Jeune Peinture exhibition » organised at the Galerie Drouant-David. His painting was bought by Doctor Girardin, who, at his death, left it to the Paris Museum of Modern Art.

At this time Emmanuel David asked him to sign an exclusive contract with his gallery. This contract was then, to be shared by Maurice Garnier.

In June of the same year, he was awarded the Critic's Prize at the Galerie Saint-Placide in Paris, in conjunction with Lorjou. In July there was an exhibition of his works at this same gallery. In November he exhibited: « La ravaudeuse de filet » in the Salon d'Automne. This painting was also bought by Doctor Girardin and was also left to the Paris Museum of Modern Art upon Doctor Girardin's death.
    
In 1949, Pierre Descargues published Bernard Buffet at the « Presses Litteraires de France ».

ln 1951, his friend Jean Giono let him a small house in Manosque where he lived for a short while before renting an ancient « bergerie » in Nanse, near Reillanne, 17 kilometres from Manosque. He worked there until 1954.

In 1953, Louis Aragon wrote, in les Lettres Francaises, an article entitled Le Paysage Francais a quatre siecles et Bernard Buffet 24 ans (Four Centuries of French Landscape Painting and the 24 Years Old Bernard Buffet).

In 1955, he was awarded the first prize by the magazine Connaissance des arts, which named the 10 best post-war artists. He met Georges Simenon who became his close friend. He bought property in Domont, near Paris, that he left the following year to live at the « Chateau l'Arc » near Aix-en-Provence, which was to be his main residence until 1964.

In 1958, at the age of 30, the first retrospective of his work was held at Galerie Charpentier.

The same year Pierre Berge published Bernard Buffet at Editions Pierre Cailler, and Georges Hourdin published l'Enfer et le Ciel de Bernard Buffet at Cerf.

December 12,1958 Bernard Buffet married Annabel Schwob at Ramatuelle.

In 1961 he painted a series of paintings depicting the life of Jesus Christ, intended to decorate the Chapelle de Chateau l'Arc. Ten years later, at the request of Monseigneur Pasquale Macci (secretary to Pope Paul VI) he offered these paintings to the Vatican Museum where they remain on permanent exhibition.

His daughter Virginie was born in 1962, and his daughter Danielle in 1963.

In 1964 Maurice Druon published Bernard Buffet at Editions Hachette. Bernard Buffet bought « la Vallee » in Saint-Cast in Britanny where he worked until 1970.

From 1965 to 1971 he lived both in Britanny and Paris.

In May, 1971 he was named « Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur ». In May ,1971 his son Nicolas was born.

November 23, 1973 the Bernard Buffet Museum was inaugurated ; it was founded by Kiichiro Okano, in Surugadaira, Japan.

March 13, 1974 he was elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts.

In 1978, at the request of the Postal Administration, he designed a stamp depicting l'Institut et le Pont des Arts .

In 1980 he got a Manor in Normandy, which he left in 1986 to live at the Domaine de la Baume, near Tourtour in the Haut-Var.

In 1986, Annabel published D'amour et d'eau fraiche at Sylvie Messinger, and Georges Durand, la Divine Comedie de Bernard Buffet at Desclee de Brouwer.

In 1986, « Bernard Buffet » by Yann le Pichon edited by Maurice Garnier, obtained the Elie Faure Award.

December 9, 1988 a large extension to the Bernard Buffet Museum was inaugurated in Japan.

In 1989, Alin Alexis Avila published « Bernard Buffet », edited by Nouvelles Editions Francaises aux Editions Casterman.