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Bernard Buffet

born Paris, France July 10, 1928
died Tourtour, France October 4, 1999

Bernard Buffet was born in Paris on July 10, 1928; and it was here that he spent his childhood, receiving elementary education at the École des Jésuites. Although he was expelled from the Lycee Carnot in Paris in 1939 for his irreverent attitude toward academia, his artistic talent gained him admittance to the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (National School of the Fine Arts) in 1943 at the age of 15. Here he worked in the studio of painter Eugène Narbonne, studying approximately two years alongside fellow classmates Maurice Boitel and Louis Vuillermoz.

A painter first and foremost, Buffet produced religious pieces, landscapes, portraits and still-lifes. But he also explored the disciplines of lithography, engraving, and sculpture; and he contributed to the Paris Opera`s ballet by designing stage sets. He illustrated Jean Cocteau`s book, La Voix Humaine, as well as Les Chants de Maldoror written by Comte de Lautreamont in 1952.

Buffet`s body of work exceeds 8,000 paintings and prints. He was one of the first artists to depict Paris itself in a cubist style, likely due to the oppression of the city during his formative years. It is possible that the sheer expense of paints contributed toward his propensity toward the sparing use of paint on the canvas; and he used very little color, working primarily in grays, black, "bistres" and greens.

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