Bernard Buffet dedicated his life to painting, and no matter how singular and brilliant his destiny, the painter only aspired throughout his life to merge into an anonymous community of existence. He revealed himself entirely in his work, which sheds light on the elements that guided his training, his encounters, his admirations, in short his life.
A work, a destiny at the dawn of the 21st century
It was under the sun of Provence, in Tourtour, in the magnificent domain of La Baume, that Bernard Buffet chose to live an extraordinary existential and artistic experience and that he ended his life. Severely diminished by Parkinson’s disease, Bernard Buffet chose to leave existence for eternity by burying his head in a plastic bag at the Maurice Garnier art gallery. He had previously scratched his signature on the bag. It was Annabel, his partner, who discovered this. The painter had deliberately chosen to leave life because he could no longer paint. Bernard Buffet belongs to this line of great creators who have quite naturally imposed themselves on the art world.
An itinerary rooted in Provence
Bernard Buffet’s childhood was spent in Brittany, but it was Provence that marked his life as a painter. It was in Saint-Tropez that he met Annabel, the companion of his life for the rest of his life. The landscapes of the Provençal hinterland, the light and the colours of Provence can be found in many of Bernard Buffet’s paintings. The painter’s usual procedures were the schematisation of the drawing, the systematic elongation of the faces of the characters, the choice of cold colours. Before painting, the painter mentally fixed the picture. When a painting was finished, the artist seemed to have settled his accounts with himself, his destiny as an anguished painter.
A strange and fascinating destiny
Bernard Buffet was a star painter, a high-spending billionaire who at one time was shunned by the art world because of his extravagance. He ended his life in general indifference even though he had at one point in his career achieved the notoriety of Picasso. A truly strange destiny for a painter that could be summed up as the dizzying rise and fall of an artist who was as much hated as he was revered.