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Avant-propos
D
es clowns mlancoliques, des paysages sombres et
plats, des portraits anguleux et crisps, des natures
mortes austres, le tout, excut avec des rseaux
de lignes droites et sches dun noir sombre, un chroma-
tisme rduit, une prsence prgnante du vide : le style
Bernard Buffet sest impos, il est identifiable entre tous.
Bernard Buffet est lun des peintres franais les plus clbres
du XX
e
sicle. Il est n en 1928 Paris o il grandit. Ds lge
de 15 ans, il entre lcole Nationale Suprieure des Beaux-
Arts de Paris. 19 ans, il est remarqu par le marchand
dart Emmanuel David. Il est sous contrat avec la galerie
parisienne Drouant-David et Maurice Garnier puis avec la
galerie David & Garnier. Le clbre marchand Maurice Garnier
reprsentera ensuite lartiste de manire exclusive jusqu la
fin de sa vie. vingt ans, il a dj eu sa premire exposition
personnelle et reu le Grand Prix de la Critique, et ds lors,
son succs est fulgurant. La gloire est immdiate. Sa cote
senvole, des expositions et rtrospectives de son uvre sont
organises dans le monde entier. En plus de peintures et
dessins, il ralise des affiches, illustrations, dcors de thtre,
lithographies, timbres poste et du jour au lendemain,
il devient millionnaire. Il est lu membre de lAcadmie des
Beaux-Arts, section Peinture, en 1974 seulement 46 ans,
un muse lui est ddi au Japon, son uvre fait lobjet de
plusieurs monographies et il reoit de nombreux prix et dis-
tinctions (en 1955, premire place au rfrendum organis
par la revue Connaissance des Arts, un an plus tard, le Prix
Antral et en mai 1971, il est nomm Officier de la Lgion
dHonneur et Officier des Arts et des Lettres).
Amant de Pierre Berg pendant 8 ans qui le quittera
pour Yves Saint Laurent, il rencontre et pouse en 1958,
Annabel Schwob, mannequin, chanteuse et crivaine
franaise, figure de lge dor de Saint-Germain-des-Prs,
quil portraiturera inlassablement de leur rencontre jusqu
la fin de sa vie. Le duo, fameux, sera trs mdiatis.
Ds le dbut de sa carrire, il devient une icne populaire,
il est adul du grand public, et est tout la fois admir et
dcri par la critique et ses contemporains. Mais on parle de
lui, et beaucoup. En bien et en mal. Bacon, Warhol, Giono,
Aragon, Cocteau, Druon et Simenon le considrent comme
un gnie. Dans le monde de lart, cest la guerre entre les
figuratifs et les abstraits et le succs commercial fulgurant du
jeune peintre figuratif au genre nouveau et drangeant fait
des jaloux, surtout en France. Bernard Buffet mne une vie
de chteau, roule en Rolls et cest un singulier paradoxe pour
un artiste au style si dpouill et sombre. Mais ltranger,
surtout aux tats-Unis, au Royaume-Uni et au Japon, son
succs ne tarira jamais. Andy Warhol dira dailleurs son
sujet dans une interview, quil pensait que Buffet tait son
avis lartiste franais contemporain le plus important et
Francis Bacon reconnatra, qu il avait t marqu par ses
nus . La France ne lhonorera vraiment quaprs sa mort
en donnant notamment son nom une cole et une rue
de Paris en 2009, et en ddiant deux salles son uvre
au Muse dArt Moderne de Paris en 2012.

Ce qui est remarquable chez Bernard Buffet, cest quil
restera fidle son style tout au long de sa carrire, les
critiques ne latteindront pas. Ses uvres sont fortes,
poignantes, et bouleversantes : lamour et la haine y sont
judicieusement mls. Elles sont parfois qualifies de mis-
rabilistes mais en ralit, ce peintre peignait ce quil voyait
dune faon percutante, acre et efficace. Il naimait pas
le joli et il peignait avec une telle intensit de sentiments
que ses uvres les voquent. Il affirmait : La peinture,
on nen parle pas, on ne lanalyse pas, on la ressent .
Annabel disait de lui : il est entr en peinture comme on
entre en religion, il a trouv une terre dasile, son atelier .
Atteint de la maladie de Parkinson qui le diminue, il sait
quil ne pourra bientt plus peindre et il met fin ses jours
le 4 octobre 1999 dans sa proprit du Var.
Les uvres de Bernard Buffet font partie des plus pres-
tigieuses collections publiques et prives dans le monde
entier et cest avec un immense plaisir quOpera Gallery
Genve rend aujourdhui hommage cet artiste franais
incontournable avec une exposition regroupant une tren-
taine duvres iconiques, une exposition riche et pleine
dmotions.
GILLES DYAN JORDAN LAHMI
Fondateur et Prsident Directeur
Opera Gallery Group Opera Gallery Genve

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Foreword
M
elancholic clowns, dark and flat landscapes, sharp-
featured and tense portraits, austere still lifes, all
of them executed with a network of straight and
sharp black lines, a narrow colour range, an overwhelming
void: this defines Bernard Buffet style, it stands out on
its own.
Bernard Buffet is one of the most famous French painters
of the 20
th
Century. He was born in 1928 in Paris where
he grew up. At the early age of 15, he is admitted at the
cole Nationale Suprieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. When
he turns 19, he is noticed by the art dealer Emmanuel
David. He is under contract with the Parisian art gallery
Drouant-David and Maurice Garnier and later on with the
gallery David & Garnier. The renowned art dealer Maurice
Garnier will be the sole agent of the artist until his death.
When Buffet is 20, he already has had his first solo show
and been awarded the Grand Prix de la Critique. From
that time his success dazzles. He becomes a super star.
His prices soar, exhibits and retrospectives of his work are
organised worldwide. As well as paintings and drawings,
he creates posters, illustrations, theatre sets, lithographs,
postal stampsand overnight he becomes a millionaire.
He is the youngest to be elected at the Acadmie des
Beaux-Arts in 1974 at the age of 46, a museum showing
his work opens in Japan, his work is the subject of nume-
rous monographs and he receives a number of awards
and prizes (in 1955, first prize of the French magazine
Connaissance des Arts, a year later, the Prix Antral and
he becomes Officier de la Legion dHonneur and Officier
des Arts et des Lettres in 1974).
For 8 years he is Pierre Bergs lover. Berg will eventually
leave him for Yves Saint Laurent. In 1958, he meets and
marries Annabel Schwob, a French model, singer and
author and a figure of the golden era of Saint-Germain-des-
Prs. He will tirelessly paint her, from the day they meet
to the day he dies. The media coverage of this famous
duo is huge.
He will be a popular icon from the beginning of his career,
idolized by the public and admired as well as denigrated by
the critic and his contemporaries. But he is talked about,
and a lot, in a good way as well as in a bad way. Bacon,
Warhol, Giono, Aragon, Cocteau, Druon and Simenon see
him as a genius. In the art world, there is a war going on
between figurative and abstract artists and the overnight
success of the young figurative artist with the unsettling
new style makes people jealous, especially in France.
Bernard Buffet lives like a king, drives a Rolls Royce and
it is a singular paradox for an artist whose genre is so
bare and dark. Nevertheless, abroad and especially in the
United States, in the United Kingdom and in Japan, his
success endures. Andy Warhol will actually say during an
interview that he thought that Bernard Buffet was the most
important French contemporary artist and Francis Bacon
will admit that he was very touched by the artists nudes.
France will eventually honour him but only after his death,
naming a school and a Parisian street after him in 2009
and dedicating two rooms to his work at the Museum of
Modern Art in Paris in 2012.
What is remarkable with Bernard Buffet is that he will
stay faithful to his style throughout his career and the
critics wont affect him. His works are strong, moving and
overwhelming: love and hate mingle judiciously. They are
sometimes qualified as sordid but in reality, this artist just
painted what he saw in a striking, biting and effective
manner. He didnt like pretty and he painted with such
intense feelings that his work evoked them. He used to
say, You dont talk about painting, you dont analyse it,
you just feel it.
Annabel spoke about him: He entered painting like one
enters religion, he found a sanctuary, his studio. When
he is diagnosed with Parkinsons disease and he realises
that soon he wont be able to paint anymore, he commits
suicide on October 4
th
1999 in his property in the Var
region of France.
Works by Bernard Buffet are part of the most prestigious
private and public collections in the world and it with great
pleasure that Opera Gallery Geneva honours one of the
greatest French artists with an exhibition presenting over
29 of his paintings; an exhibition rich and full of emotion.
GILLES DYAN JORDAN LAHMI
Founder and Chairman Director
Opera Gallery Group Opera Gallery Geneva
8 9
Le Port de La Rochelle, 1950
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 50
Mixed media on paper laid on canvas
48,5 x 64 cm - 19.1 x 25.2 in.
Provenance
Private collection, Germany
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
10
Table et chaise, 1951
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 51
Oil on canvas
97 x 146 cm - 38.2 x 57.5 in.
Provenance
Solvil Beaux-Arts, Geneva
Galerie Roger Ferrero, Geneva
Galerie Tamnaga, Tokyo
Private collection, Tokyo
Corporate collection, Japan
Private collection, Europe
Exhibited
Geneva, Galerie Roger Ferrero,
Bernard Buffet, Feb. - April 1982,
No. 18, ill. p. 7
Certificate
This work is accompanied by
a certificate of authenticity
12 13
Fleurs des champs dans un verre, 1951
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 51
Oil on canvas
65,3 x 50,2 cm - 25.7 x 19.8 in.
Provenance
Galerie Drouant-David, Paris
Private collection, France
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
14 15
Profil de femme, 1953
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 53
Pencil and crayon on paper
65 x 50 cm - 25.6 x 19.7 in.
Provenance
Galerie Drouant-David, Paris
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
16 17
Le Sacr Cur de Montmartre, 1958
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 58
Oil on canvas
65 x 46 cm - 25.6 x 18.1 in.
Provenance
Galerie David & Garnier, Paris
Herman C. Goldsmith, New York
Private collection, USA
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
18 19
Annabel en blue jeans, 1960
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1960 Le 12 Dcembre
Oil on canvas
130 x 97 cm - 51.2 x 38.2 in.
Provenance
Galerie Maurice Garnier, Paris
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
20
Nu allong sur la plage, 1960
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 60
Oil and gouache on paper
mounted on canvas
76 x 106 cm - 29.9 x 41.7 in.
Provenance
Galerie Drouant-David, Paris
Galerie Ferrero, Geneva
Private collection, Nagoya
Certificate
This work is accompanied by
a certificate of authenticity
22 23
Pavots rouges et jaunes, delphiniums bleus, 1964
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 64
Oil on canvas
130 x 82 cm - 51.2 x 32.3 in.
Provenance
Galerie David & Garnier, Paris (No. 33P)
Wally Findlay Galleries, Chicago
Sale: Christies New York, Nov. 8, 1995, lot 300
Private collection
Private collection, Europe
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
24
Le Caf Barbe Montmartre, 1967
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 67
Oil on canvas
97 x 130 cm - 38.2 x 51.2 in.
Provenance
Galerie David & Garnier, Paris
Manhattan Gallery, Tokyo
Corporate collection, Japan
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate
of authenticity
26
Quiberon, bateau quai, 1973
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1973
Oil on canvas
89 x 130 cm - 35 x 51.2 in.
Provenance
Private collection
Certificate
This work is accompanied by
a certificate of authenticity
28
La Caravelle, 1977
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1977
Oil on canvas
130 x 162 cm - 51.2 x 63.8 in.
Provenance
Private collection
Certificate
This work is accompanied by
a certificate of authenticity
30 31
Autoportrait 18, 1981
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1981
Oil on canvas
116 x 89 cm - 45.7 x 35 in.
Provenance
Galerie Maurice Garnier, Paris
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
32 33
Japonaises, 1981
Signed Bernard Buffet
Watercolour, India ink and pencil on paper
65 x 50 cm - 25.6 x 19.7 in.
Provenance
Sale: Mr. Charbonneaux, Paris, March 22, 1988, lot 58
Private collection, Paris
Exhibited
Paris, Galerie Maurice Garnier, Bernard Buffet et le Japon, Feb.-March 1981
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
34
Venise, la Salute, 1986
Signed Bernard Buffet
Gouache, pen and brush and India ink on card
49,7 x 64,9 cm - 19.6 x 25.5 in.
Provenance
Galerie David & Garnier, Paris (No. 86B)
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate
of authenticity
36 37
La Baume, fentre ouverte sur la fontaine, 1987
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1987
Oil on canvas
130 x 89 cm - 51.2 x 35 in.
Provenance
Galerie Tamnaga, Tokyo
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
38 39
Officier dEmpire IV, 1987
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1987
Oil on canvas
116 x 73 cm - 45.7 x 28.7 in.
Provenance
Galerie Maurice Garnier, Paris
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
40 41
La Baume, la commode aux vases chinois, 1987
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1987
Oil on canvas
73 x 116 cm - 28.7 x 45.7 in.
Provenance
Galerie Tamnaga, Osaka
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate
of authenticity
42 43
La Sainte-Chapelle, 1988
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1988
Oil on canvas
195 x 114 cm - 76.8 x 44.9 in.
Provenance
Galerie Maurice Garnier, Paris
Galerie Tamnaga, Tokyo
Manhattan Gallery, Tokyo
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
44
Le Mtro arien et le boulevard Rochechouart,
mtro Jaurs, 1989
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1989
Oil on canvas
113,5 x 145,7 cm - 44.7 x 57.4 in.
Provenance
Galerie Maurice Garnier, Paris
Galerie Tamnaga, Tokyo
Corporate collection, Japan
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate
of authenticity
46 47
Clown au petit chapeau jaune, 1989
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1989
Oil on canvas
100 x 81 cm - 39.4 x 31.9 in.
Provenance
Galerie David & Garnier, Paris
Private collection, Japan
Private collection
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
48
Le Val Andr, 1990
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1990
Oil on canvas
89 x 130 cm - 35 x 51.2 in.
Provenance
Galerie Maurice Garnier, Paris
Certificate
This work is accompanied by
a certificate of authenticity
50
Lcluse, 1990
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1990
Oil on canvas
97 x 146 cm - 38.2 x 57.5 in.
Provenance
Private collection
Certificate
This work is accompanied by
a certificate of authenticity
52
La Mairie, 1990
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1990
Oil on canvas
81 x 116 cm - 31.9 x 45.7 in.
Provenance
Galerie Maurice Garnier, Paris
Certificate
This work is accompanied by
a certificate of authenticity
54 55
Fleurs dans un pichet, 1991
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1991
Oil on canvas
73 x 54 cm - 28.7 x 21.3 in.
Provenance
Galerie Maurice Garnier, Paris
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
56
Le Yacht bleu, 1992
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1992
Oil on canvas
97 x 146 cm - 38.2 x 57.5 in.
Provenance
Galerie Maurice Garnier, Paris
Certificate
This work is accompanied by
a certificate of authenticity
58 59
Le grand bouquet, 1995
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1995
Oil on canvas
146 x 114 cm - 57.5 x 44.9 in.
Provenance
Private collection
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
60
Armes, 1997
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1997
Oil on canvas
81 x 116 cm - 31.9 x 45.7 in.
Provenance
Private collection
Certificate
This work is accompanied by
a certificate of authenticity
62
Nature morte aux fleurs, 1999
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1999
Oil on canvas
73 x 100 cm - 28.7 x 39.4 in.
Provenance
Private collection
Certificate
This work is accompanied by
a certificate of authenticity
64 65
Curs de Marie, 1999
Signed and dated Bernard Buffet 1999
Oil on canvas
73 x 54 cm - 28.7 x 21.3 in.
Provenance
Private collection
Certificate
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity
67
Selected Exhibitions and Retrospectives
1958 Bernard Buffet at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris, France
1958 Bernard Buffet at the Institut Franais of Berlin, Germany
1959 Bernard Buffet at the Casino of Knokke-le-Zoute, Belgium
1963 Bernard Buffet at the Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, Japan
1969 Bernard Buffet at the Muse Unterlinden in Colmar, France
1977 Bernard Buffet at the Gemeentemuseum of Wieger Deurne, Holland
1978 Bernard Buffet at the Muse de la Poste of Paris, France
1985 Bernard Buffet at the Rfectoire des Jacobins of Toulouse, France
1987 Bernard Buffet at the Odakyu Museum in Tokyo, Japan
1991 Bernard Buffet at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, Russia
1991 Bernard Buffet at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
1991 Bernard Buffet at the Gallery Hyundai in Seoul, Korea
1993 Bernard Buffet at the Muse Gustave Courbet in Ornans, France
1994 Bernard Buffet at the Documenta-Halle in Kassel, Germany
1995 Bernard Buffet at the Odakyu Museum in Tokyo, Japan
1996 Bernard Buffet at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan
2009 Bernard Buffet at the Centre de la Vieille Charit in Marseille, France
2010 Bernard Buffet at the Galerie Pascale Froessel in Strasbourg, France
2012 Bernard Buffet at the Muse dArt Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
2012 Tribute to Bernard Buffet at the Atelier Gabrielle in Salernes, France
2012 Bernard Buffet, engraver, at the Muse Yves Brayer in Les Baux-de-Provence, France
Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida, USA
Muse dArt Moderne, Lille, France
National Gallery for Foreign Art, Sofia, Bulgaria
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan
Tampere Art Museum, Tampere, Finland
Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje, Macedonia
Bernard Buffet Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Selected Public Collections

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