Mattia Jona La Portantina +39 02 8053315

PARIS 1928 - TOURTOUR 1999

Born in Paris, Bernard Buffet was accepted into the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts at the age of just 15. He stayed there for only two years and decided to work on his own. Buffet's talent was revealed as early as 1947. He presented L'homme accoudé at the Salon des Indépendants, and in December of the same year he had his first solo exhibition at the Librairie des Impressions d'Art. The recognition was immediate. Raymond Cogniat bought Nature morte au poulet for the Musée National d'Art Moderne de Paris. He often painted "miserabilist" scenes of despair and poverty, like Francis Gruber and Georges Rouault. In 1948 he meets the art dealer Emmanuel David. The latter will really be the origin of his international career with a first exhibition at the Galerie Drouant-David in 1949. Bernard Buffet signed an exclusive contract with David which extended it to Maurice Garnier from 1957 onwards. The Galerie Charpentier in Paris organized the first retrospective of his work in 1958. However, in the late 1950s, both the public and the art world turned against Buffet. His lavish lifestyle made him seem out of touch with the still struggling economy of postwar France. Picasso further worsened Buffet's reputation by publicly disparaging his work, and Buffet also attracted the enmity of the novelist André Malraux, France's powerful culture minister. Finally, Buffet's critical reputation was also affected by his extraordinary and sometimes indiscriminate output. Despite his diminished reputation, Bernard Buffet was named Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur in 1973 and in November of the same year, the Bernard Buffet Museum was founded by Kiichiro Okano, a private collector in Surugadaira, Japan.