Bernard Buffet

Bernard Buffet (1928 – 1999) is one of the major painters from the post-war generation of figurative painters. His expressionist art of narrative figuration is anchored in the radicality of a new, sharp expression, as opposed to any banality. Buffet carries a powerful, often violent look at the reality of modern life. His work is without any taboo, uncompromising, rich in a tragic vision and powerful plastic.

Two retrospective exhibitions of Bernard Buffet’s work took place in Paris in 2016-2017: “Buffet intimately” at the Montmartre Museum and “Bernard Buffet, Retrospective” at the Museum of Modern Art.

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Bernard Buffet

1928          Born in Paris, France, July 10.

1943          Attended the Paris National School of Fine Arts. Self studies at the Louvre Museum.

1945          Won the Studio Works Prize from the Paris National School of Fine Arts.

1946          First showing at the Salon des moins de trente ans.

1947          Salon des indépendants, Paris.

1947          First solo exhibition presented by art critic Pierre Descargues at Librairie des Impressions d’art, Paris.

1948          Met Dr Maurice Girardin, his first important collector. His collection was given to the Paris Modern Art Museum.

1948          Won the Art Critic Prize.

1949          From this date on, an annual exhibition was held at Galerie Drouant-David (Galerie David et Garnier, Galerie Maurice Garnier).

1950          Was one of the founders of the Salon de la jeune peinture, organized by Pierre Descargues.

1955          Acclaimed as first of the 10 best after-war painters at the referendum from “Connaissance des arts” magazine.

1956          Buys a domain near Aix en Provence where he will live until 1964.

1971          Appointed Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour by French President Georges Pompidou.

1973          Opening of the Bernard Buffet Museum in Surugadaira (Japan).

1974          Appointed member of the French Fine Arts Academy.

1988          Opening of the extension of the Bernard Buffet Museum in Surugadaira, Japan.

1999          Died in Tourtour, France, on October 4.



Since 1949, annual exhibitions are organised in February of every year at Galerie Drouant-David, which first became Galerie David et Garnier in 1957 and Galerie Maurice Garnier in 1968.

Bernard Buffet had numerous foreign solo exhibitions in New York, Chicago, Palm Beach, Montreal, Vancouver, Tokyo, Osaka, Johannesburg, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw, Basel, Zurich, Geneva, Rome, Venise, Milan, Madrid, among others.


Major retrospective exhibitions of his work

1958          Galerie Charpentier, Paris.

1958          Institut Français, Berlin.

1959          Casino, Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium.

1963          Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo et Kyoto, Japon.

1969          Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, France.

1977          Gemeentemuseum, Wieger Deurne, Netherlands.

1978          Musée Postal, Paris.

1985          Réfectoire des Jacobins, Toulouse, France.

1987          Odakyu Museum, Tokyo

1991          Pouchkine Museum, Moscou

1991          Ermitage Museum, Saint-Petersburg

1991          Hyundai Museum, Seoul

1993          Musée Gustave Courbet, Ornans, France.

1994          Documenta-Halle, Kassel

1995          Odakyu Museum, Tokyo

1996          Museum of Fine Arts, Kaoshiung, Taiwa

2006          Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Haag, Netherlands.

2008          Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Allemagne.

2016          Modern Art Museum, Paris, France

2016          Montmartre Museum, Paris, France


Museum collections

Museum of Modern Art, City of Paris

Petit Palais Museum, Paris

Modern Art Galleries of the Vatican, Rome

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

Museum of Modern Art, Lille, France

National Gallery of Armenia, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia

Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago.

Tate Gallery, London, UK

Museum of Art Roger-Quillot, Clermont-Ferrand, France

Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Illinois

Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio

Harvard University Art Museums, Massachussetts.

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco