Bernard Buffet -The Painter of Lines

Session: March 12, 2022 - March 26, 2023 Sponsorship: Bernard Buffet Museum
  • ニューヨーク:マンハッタン 1958年 油彩

  • 《水差しのある静物》1949年 油彩

  • 《えび》1958年 油彩

  • 《ぺロス=ギレック》1973年 油彩

  • 《ドン・キホーテ、鳥と洞穴》1988年 油彩

Canvases covered with lines that resemble scratches, black contour lines, or sharply stabbing vertical lines—these lines were the way that Bernard Buffet expressed himself. The lines are, however, in no way uniform. When did Buffet’s lines become manifest, and what did the artist try to express with these lines?

In the early works done directly after the end of the Second World War, the eye is caught by countless lines drawn in pencil and contour lines that look like any number of fine lines accumulated one on top of the other. What Buffet expressed with those painful lines corresponded impressively with the postwar atmosphere and won him the Critic’s Prize at age nineteen. Okano Kiichiro, the museum’s founder, referred to the despairing originality of Buffet’s lines. Filled with grief and despair, those lines immediately swept the world, turning him into the leading painter of his day. Instantly recognizable, these lines became synonymous with Buffet.

When the postwar atmosphere eventually faded and appreciation for Buffet’s work changed, he still continued the pursuit of the lines he had made his own. Sometimes increasingly thick black lines separate “things” from the world. Sometimes a thick accumulation of lines are heaped into blobs of paint on the canvas. Sometimes the lines enclose colors that still look as if they are about to overflow. Sometimes, delicate thin lines color whole landscapes.

In the 1980s, Buffet used the lines he had so thoroughly embraced to create portraits of the unique characters in the Don Quixote story on huge canvases. Even in his last years when he was stricken with illness and unable to fully control the movement of his hands, the power of Buffet’s lines remained unchanged. This exhibition attempts to trace Buffet’s life guided by his expressive use of lines.