Bernard Buffet, Figurative Painter—What Buffet Painted

Session: April 10, 2021 to March 6, 2022
  • 肉屋の少年 1949年 油彩  /Le garçon boucher

  • プラムの籠のある静物 1950年 油彩  /Nature morte au panier

  • サーカス:パレード 1955年 油彩  /Le cirque : La parade

  • モンマルトル、モンマルトルのサクレ=クール教会堂 1967年 油彩  /Montmartre: La Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre

  • 緑のある風景 1962年 油彩 /Paysage vent le Loing

  • ひまわり 1988年 油彩 /Les tournesoles

For a long time, a “picture” meant a depiction of something visible, something with form. In the early twentieth century, however, abstract arts, which “did not portray things seen in the visible world,” appeared, and pictures that did depict visible things came to be called “figurative art.” After World War II, new abstract styles sprang up simultaneously all over the world. This move from figurative to abstract painting became a trend, and the vital center of the international art world shifted from Paris to New York. Bernard Buffet made his debut as a painter in that time, when the Parisian art world was in flux.

Abstract and figurative art were being treated as in opposition to each other, and people who were seeking new figurative forces to counter the trend to abstraction were welcoming the rise of young figurative painters and boosting them into stardom. Buffet himself stuck to the figurative and continued to depict “things that have form,” of all sorts, throughout his life.

But when asked in an interview, “Did you ever think you’d like to try abstract painting?”
Buffet answered,

All works are “abstract.”
As in figurative art, it must be understandable by everyone. People must find something there, in aesthetic terms.
All arts are “abstract” in this sense.

What do we find in Buffet’s work? Let us address each work, face to face, studying the “things that have form” that Buffet depicted, and see what we can find there.

In the First Building (Designed by Kiyonori Kikutake in 1973), you will see the introductory exhibit  about “What were the times that gave birth to the presence we know as Buffet? ”  In this section, we introduce the first decade of the painter Bernard Buffet.  It was the time when Buffet debuted and his work came to symbolize many things, including ideology and politics, and he himself, beyond his achievements as a painter.  Buffet’s precious early works would bring you back to the age.
You will see more than 100 artworks by Bernard Buffet all through the museum while this exhibition period.