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Bernard Buffet

la biographie

Bernard Buffet is a French expressionist painter born on July 10 1928 in Paris and died on October 4 1999 in Tourtour. 


At the age of fifteen, Bernard Buffet successfully passed the entrance exam to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1955 he won a competition organised by French art magazine ‘Connaissance des arts’ which crowned him the best post-war French artist. Bernard Buffet is undoubtedly the greatest French master of the second half of the 20th century.


Bernard Buffet rubbed shoulders with intellectuals as emblematic as Camus, Sartre, Boris Vian and Céline. His entourage fostered a nihilistic view of existence in him. The painter shared this philosophy of the absurd. He was fond of Sartrean existentialism. Those who really knew Bernard Buffet considered him a nonconformist and a revolutionary. 

The painter was among those who sometimes have a sulphurous, even anarchistic spirit. By surrounding himself with mythical figures such as Françoise Sagan, Brigitte Bardot, Georges Brassens or Jacques Prévert, Bernard Buffet developed a free spirit. The expressionist painter was often subject to controversy.


His style is easily recognisable by its webs of straight lines, angular figures and sad clowns. His paintings are inspired by numerous themes: animals, nudes, still lifes, flowers, interior scenes, landscapes … his work is certainly iconic. Famous throughout the world, Bernard Buffet was a very prolific painter. He created more than 8000 works and many exhibitions and retrospectives of his work have been held around the world.

Very popular in Japan, a museum bears his name and a large part of his works are on display there.