I am a small boat sailing the vast ocean. Time and again, my boat is inundated by waves. I try to weave a course through the waves. I keep moving forward even as I am tossed about in the waves.
Shortly after the Second World War and the end of the Nazi occupation of France, at a time when people were still recovering from their sense of loss, the paintings of a taciturn youth attracted attention. The painter’s name was Bernard Buffet. His pared-down paintings resonated with people, instantly turning Buffet into the icon of the age.
Buffet went on to create more than 8000 works in a career that extended over fifty years. All the attention caused an onslaught of mixed reviews; nevertheless, Buffet continued to explore different ways of expression for the rest of his life. In a sense, Buffet cut the figure of a man committed to chivalry, a sort of Don Quixote figure.
Twenty years have passed since Buffet died at age 71. While there are still those of the older generation who remember Buffet, the painter, from the time when he took the world by storm, many younger people are now discovering him for the first time. This exhibition reflects on “the Buffet phenomenon,” while carefully reevaluating his work. When Buffet made his debut, there was a sense of emptiness, of searching in vain for a future—perhaps not unlike what we experience today. We hope you will find much of interest in the unique expression of the painter Bernard Buffet.
Buffet is a great print artist as well as a painter. About 80 pieces of his dry point (copperplate engraving) and lithograph prints are shown in the special exhibition room in the Annex at “Bernard Buffet le graveur II” September5 to December 15, 2020.