Bernard BUFFET (French, 1928 - 1999)
Oil on canvas
100 x 81 cm
Beijing International Art Exposition, Beijing, 1999
The Shanghai Art Fair, Shanghai, 1999
The Ultimate Style - Bernard Buffet
Born in Paris in 1928, grew up on the coast of Brittany, Bernard Buffet loves biology. Though he encountered difficulties while pursuing academic, along with his delicacy and sensitivity, cannot stop others from discovering his outstanding artistic talent. The 1948 painting “Le Buveur” was exhibited in Galerie Drouant-David, and later became the collection of Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. In the same year, the artist met his dealers of a lifetime, David and Maurice Garnier, hence signed the agency contract, even awarded with “Prix de la Critique”, from then on got famous almost overnight. In 1955 while Buffet was only 27 years old, he was named as the best out of the top ten post war artists by “Connaissance des Arts”. When his first retrospective exhibition was held in 1958, he was even highly praised by the media as “the successor of French realism painting.” A shy and jerky young man has since then transformed into a talented artist mostly sought after by the limelight.
The paintings of Buffet outlined with black lines have such a strong personal style, always have been able to shock the inner hearts of the viewers. Many artists, including Taiwan predecessor painter Shiy Dejinn, have been deeply influenced by him. Japanese collectors even regarded him as the paramount religion of French art and built an art museum for him. Most of his creations are in a string of series, themes, characters, images and subject matters are repeatedly utilised, and the toreador is one of his most iconic themes.
As an enthusiast in bullfighting, Buffet has a strong passion for this traditional cultural activity originated in Spain. The artist once said, “I regard a toreador as a nobleman, a prisoner amid the struggle, with the dictatorship of the beast.” He appreciates the fatal attraction between the beast and the toreador, a fate destined to end in tragedy among them. The trapped beast was challenged and attacked in turn, but still could not escape from death. The toreador wears gorgeous costume, shining brightly under the sun, yet there is no protection function to resist the sharp puncture of the beast. The long sword seems to be fairly sharp, still it can only react at the crucial moment of life and death in the facing the threat of giant beast. The dance performed by toreador simultaneously consisted of desire and violence, throughout the ritualization of the performance procedures, nevertheless increases the component of dramatic performance to this barbaric act, in the hope of diluting and reducing audience's fear of death.
Ravenel’s Modern and Contemporary Asian Art proudly presented “Toréro Debout” in our upcoming Spring Sale. The painting was made in 1961, dressed in splendid gold-inlaid costumes, wearing an aristocratic black hat, the background filled with cool colors distinctly contrasted with the outfit in sky blue, eventually boosted the spirit of nobility. The face of toreador is deeply and profoundly depicted, in addition to his firm and persistent expression, the silhouette is outlined with dark lines to make his facial expression more penetrating. The composition presents a theatrical sense, which can better focus on the spirituality of the characters expressed by the artist. A strong and powerful signature marked by the artist, which hanged on the upper left hand side of the painting, conveying the message as if the self-portrait of the artist dressing in the traditional toreador costume. In closely response to the period when this painting was created, Buffet has already established his reputation in the art world and therefore his mentality of self-confidence was completely demonstrated in the context of this painting. His works recorded with high prices in the market now generally originate from his peak period of 1950s and 1960s. In the mid of1950s, his theme changed to a much larger scale of creations, this is due to the significant improvement of material conditions in his real life then. The protagonist toreador in this magnificent work “Toréro Debout” is in such a rare golden composition of the whole body ratio, which clearly demonstrates his early training rooted in the High Academy of Fine Arts. This painting contains his classic style and theme, sure is one of highlights in our Spring Sale that definitely cannot be missed.
Modern & Contemporary Asian Art
Ravenel Spring Auction 2020 Taipei
Sunday, July 19, 2020, 12:00am