We have a number of stunning new lithographs and works on paper by further prestigious masters of 20th century art. One such is none other than Bernard Buffet (1928-99). Having retrospectives in London and as far as Azerbaijan, Buffet’s work appears to be resurfacing again with distinct pertinence.
Famed for the jealousy directed at him by Picasso, John Lichfield of the Independent (16/03/09) wrote:
“On a sunny afternoon in the 1950s, Pablo Picasso was sitting with his children on the terrace of a café in the south of France. Another artist arrived. “Look there is Bernard Buffet,” said Picasso’s children. They jumped up and asked for the autograph of the young, handsome, awkward man who was — joint equally with their father — the most celebrated painter of the post-war world, a modern master who had made a colossal fortune from his work by the age of 30.
After a meteoric rise to stardom, Buffet fell victim in the 1960s to a campaign of denigration in his home country, led, among others by Picasso. The Spanish genius detested Buffet for rivalling his fame and certainly never forgave him for becoming a cult hero to his children.
Picasso’s mythical status, and the commercial success, continues to grow long after his death. Buffet remained successful for half a century; up to a point. He was for many years a great favourite with non-academic lovers of art, otherwise known as “ordinary people”. In the 1970s, no middle class sitting room in Britain was complete unless it had a stiff backed orange couch, a television on splayed legs and a print of a spikey clown’s face painted by Buffet. He has also been consistently admired by art critics in other countries, especially Japan and the US.”
Les Ombelles, 1972
Buffet’s work is distinguished by his strong lines, bold colours and spikey figures. Les Ombelles (above) is a stunning piece that beautifully displays his balance of line and colour with brash strokes and an elegant composition.