Bernard Buffet was a French artist born in 1929. He began studying art in 1944 but it took until 1948 for him to receive recognition through winning the Prix de la Critique; voted by Parisian critics. His work often had heavy outlines to define his subjects; Parisian scenery as well as numerous self portraits.
So the story goes, he lost some recognition due to Picasso’s envy of his work. They were both enjoying fame and respect, both celebrated as post war artists under 30, but when Picasso’s children wanted Buffet’s autograph, Picasso was enraged. A campaign ensued, led by Picasso to ensure Buffet was ignored. Picasso continued to world-wide iconic status even after his death, but Buffet really was only famous for the suburban home rather than the art critics. Many homes in the 1960s had his clown prints on their lounge walls.
He enjoyed fame outside France, especially in America. In his home country they deemed him a joke, and still don’t always take him seriously. For someone that won awards, and made a lot money he has divided opinion ever since. I wonder what would have happened in the art history books if Picasso hadn’t felt so threatened?
Buffet committed suicide in 1999, suffering from Parkinson Disease.
His lobster print is one of my favourite paintings by Buffet. The burst of orange in the lobster matches our interior and most other mid century homewares and the jug with his signature heavy outlines in it. It dates to 1958.
This street scene works really well in a group of prints due to its natural tones.
These Matadors are really striking and work well as a pair.
photo courtesy of Simon Whitmore