Bernard Buffet (French, 1928–1999) was a painter well-known for his Expressionist works. Buffet was a member of L'Homme Témoin [the Witness-Man], an Anti-Abstract Art Group. Buffet was born in Paris, France, and he attended the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Around the same time, Buffet also worked at the studio of Eugène Narbonne (French, 1885–1966). As a struggling young artist, Buffet was supported by a French picture and art dealer while he was working on different works, portraits, still lifes, religious pieces, and landscapes.

The artist’s first painting was exhibited in 1946 at the Galerie Beaux-Arts in Paris, France. After that, Buffet held at least one exhibition in each of the subsequent years. The French magazine Connaissance des arts named him number one in a list of the 10 best Post-War artists. The first retrospective of Buffet's work was held in 1958 at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris. In 1973, the Bernard Buffet Museum was inaugurated in the artist’s honor in Surugadaira, Japan. Five years later, in 1978, Buffet was commissioned by the French government to design a stamp depicting the Institut et le Pont des Arts. Examples of his paintings include Tête de Veau (1954), Bouquet (1965), and Still Life (1991).

Buffet participated in numerous exhibitions in different places, including solo exhibitions at The French Institute, Berlin, Germany, in 1959; the Postal Museum, Paris, France, in 1978; and the Odakyu Museum, Tokyo, Japan, in 1995. Apart from solo exhibitions, the artist also took part in numerous group exhibitions, including those at the Salon des Independants, Paris, France, in 1947, and at the Salon d'Automne, Paris, France, in 1948. Major retrospectives of his works have been held at institutions including Galerie Charpentier, Paris, France, in 1958; the Museum of Modem Art, Tokyo, Japan, in 1963; and Seedamm Cultural Center, Zurich, Switzerland, in 1983. Buffet received numerous awards for his works, including Member of the Salon d'Automne in 1947, co-recipient of the Prix de la Critique with Bernard Lorjou (French, 1908–1986) in 1948, and Officer of the Légion d'Honneur in 1973. His works are held in different public collections, such as the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, and Ca la Ghironda, in Bologna, Italy. Toward the end of his career, Buffet was unable to work because he was suffering from Parkinson's disease. Buffet committed suicide in 1999 in Tourtour, France.

Timeline

1928
Born in Paris, France
1939
Entered the Lycée Carnot, Paris, France
1943
Expelled from the Lycée Carnot. Started attending an evening class in drawing.
1943
Entered at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France
1945
Left the École des Beaux-Arts and travelled to Brittany with his mother
1947
Met the writer Pierre Descargues, who became one of his earliest and most ardent supporters, writing the catalogue preface for his first one-man show in 1947
1948
Emmanuel David offered Buffet an exclusive contract with his gallery, shared with art dealer Maurice Garnier
Recipient, Prix de la Critique (Critic's Prize) from the Paris art critics, Paris, France
1955
Elected the most important post-war artist by the art magazine Connaissance des Arts
1958
The New York Times magazine ranked him one of France's Fabulous Young Five alongside such contemporaries as Yves Saint-Laurent
1971
Appointed Knight of the Honorary Legion, France
1973
Bernard-Buffet-Museum is opened in Surugadaira, Japan by the collector Kiichiro Okan
1974
Elected to the Académie des Beaux Arts, Paris, France
1999
Died in Tour, France

Exhibitions

2010–2011
Bernard Buffet et la Provence, Musée Bernard Buffet, Surugadaira, Japan (solo)
2010
Bernard Buffet : Huiles et aquarelles, Galerie DIL, Paris, France (solo)
Bernard Buffet, Galerie Pascale Froessel, Strasbourg, France (solo)
2009
Bernard Buffet, Centre de la Vieille Charité, Marseille (solo)
2007
Auktion 24, Lehr, Auktionshaus und Galerie, Berlin, Germany
2006
Rétrospective, Gemeentemuseum den haag, La Haye, The Netherlands (solo)
La force de l'art - Superdefense, Galeries naitonales du Grand Palais, Paris, France
2005
Tauchfahrten, Zeichnung als Reportage, Kunsthalle Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf, Germany
1996
Musée des Beaux-arts de Kaoshiung, Taiwan (solo)
1995
The Odakyu Museum, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1994
Documents Halle, Kassel, Germany (solo)
1993
Gustave Courbet Museum, Ornans, France (solo)
1991
Pouchkine Museum, Moscow, Russia (solo)
Ermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (solo)
Hyundai Museum, Seoul, South Korea (solo)
1987
The Odakyu Museum, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1985
Refectoire des Jacobins, Toulouse, France (solo)
1983
Seedamm Cultural Center, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
1978
The Postal Museum, Paris, France (solo)
1977
Gemeentmuseum, Wieger Deurne, The Netherlands (solo)
1969
Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, France (solo)
1963
The Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
1959
The French Institute, Berlin, Germany (solo)
1958
Retrospective, Galerie Charpentier, Paris, France (solo)
1957
Galerie David and Garnier, Paris, France (solo)
1948
Salon d'Automne, Paris, France
Jeune Peinture Exhibition, Galerie Drouant-David, Paris, France
1947
Salon des Independants, Paris, France
Art Impressions book shop, Paris, France (solo)

Public Collections

Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA
National Gallery of Victoria, Australia
Tate Gallery, London, UK