Les Rails by Bernard Buffet

  • This compelling oil on canvas is the work of the celebrated French Expressionist Bernard Buffet
  • Hauntingly expressive, the piece displays Buffet’s renowned avant-garde style
  • Buffet was part of the group L'homme Témoin, who favored emotion over realism
  • His work has been highly exhibited and can be found in important collections worldwide
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5476

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Bernard Buffet
1928-1999 | French

Les Rails
(The Tracks)

Signed "Bernard Buffet" (upper right); dated "1982” (upper left)
Oil on canvas

Once considered 20th-century France's most important painter, Bernard Buffet's stark and dramatic style defined the existential mood of the Post-War era. The present work, entitled Les Rails, was composed in 1982, decades after he had achieved an unparalleled level of artistic celebrity in Paris. In it, a train station and tracks are reduced to the essentials. Buffet's works are instantly recognizable for the harsh black contours delineating his subjects. The artist's imagery, at once direct and indelibly haunting, reflects his renowned avant-garde attitude.

Part of the artistic group known as "L'homme Témoin" ("The Witness-Men"), Buffet's canvases were in direct opposition to the ideals of abstraction, favoring to instead express feelings rather than physical reality. Here, Buffet applies his distinctively personal style to a seemingly abandoned line of buildings, paring the barren cityscape down to its most basic elements. The rich, dark colors, the haunting grey sky, and the harsh, bold lines combine to present a visceral visual masterpiece.

Born in Paris, Buffet began his art studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (National School of the Fine Arts) in December 1943, and worked in the studio of the painter Eugène Narbonne. After two years, the artist struck out on his own and embarked upon a successful career, beginning with the showing of a self-portrait exhibited at the Salon des Moins de Trente Ans at the Galerie Beaux-Arts in 1946. His existential compositions brought him great fame and fortune at an early age, and he appeared alongside Yves Saint-Laurent, Brigitte Bardot, Roger Vadim and Françoise Sagan in a 1958 article in The New York Times Magazine titled “France's Fabulous Young Five.” Today, his work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many more. Additionally, there are two museums in Japan devoted to his oeuvre.

Dated 1982

Canvas: 37 1/2” high x 53 3/4” wide
Frame: 44 1/8” high x 60 1/4” wide
Les Rails by Bernard Buffet
Maker: Buffet, Bernard
Period: 1919-Present
Origin: France
Type: Paintings
Depth: 3.0 Inches
Width: 60.25 Inches
Height: 44.13 Inches
Style: Modernism
Canvas Width: 53.75 Inches
Canvas Height: 37.5 Inches

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