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Bernard Buffet

Bernard Buffet

*  1928 Paris
† 1999 Tourtour

Born in Paris in 1928, Bernhard Buffet entered the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1943 and studied there until 1945. Since 1947 he dedicated yearly one exhibition to a special subject, e.g. ‚Les Fleurs', ‚Vue de Venise' or ‚Les clowns musiciens' Already in 1948 his artistic work was honoured with the ‚Prix de la Critique'. He became a member of the anti-abstract artist group ‚L'homme Témoin'. Buffet developed an unmistakable, realistic style. Often his heavily structured and vertically constructed works were dominated by a dark web of lines, resulting in a provoking, dramatic effect. Rembrandt, Géricault, Courbet, Delacroix and van Gogh were his artistic role-models. Buffet referred to German Expressionism - especially its pessimistic elements - to the mystic asceticism of early Christian cultures and the poetical rigorousity of Japonism. The artist was philosophically committed to Existentialism an the so-called ‚Miserabilism' of Francis Gruber and that way he met the attitude to life of the people at the end of war. In his portraits, self-portraits, still lives and landscapes he always dealt with the quintessence of life, when it came to rest through death, oblivion or solitude. On the other hand Buffet's works celebrate life and want to enchant with beautiful flowers, the great outdoors and harmonical buildings. Buffet was in first place of a poll by the journal ‚Connaissance' which appreciated the ten best post-war artists in 1955. In 1974 he was admitted to the Académie des Beaux Arts and appointed officer of the legion of honours. Over the years numerous world-wide exhibitions took place. The patron Kiichiro Okano set up a museum for his works in a park near mount Fuji in 1973. In 1981 Buffet visited Japan, where he was regarded as a man of some account, for the first time. The artist's work consists of more than 8000 paintings as well as numerous printed graphics. He also worked as an illustrator and stage designer. In 1999 Buffet, who suffered from Parkinson's Disease and was no longer able to work, committed suicide in his house in Tourtour.