Bernard Buffet


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Status, estimation and price of the artist Bernard Buffet

Price of a painting: 10,000 – 150,000 €.

Average estimate of a drawing: 8,100 – 80,000 €.

Artist’s status for a print:  40 – 4 500 €.

Selling price of a miscellaneous object: 40 – 6,300 €.

Bernard Buffet, a young prodigy

Bernard Buffet was born on 10 July 1928 in Paris and died in Tourtour, in the South of France, on 4 October 1999. In 1943, he took evening drawing classes with Monsieur Darfeuille before returning to the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Buffet was fascinated by art from the age of seven, and began drawing. In 1945, he decided to work alone in his maid’s room. That same year, his mother died – an event from which he never truly recovered. In 1947, he exhibited “l’Homme accoudé” at the Salon des indépendants and presented his first exhibition at the art print bookshop. He would soon be appreciated by collectors and the French State bought his “Nature morte au poulet”.

Gallery owner Emmanuel David noticed Buffet and asked him to sign an exclusivity contract which would then be shared with Maurice Garnier.

At the age of twenty, Buffet was declared the equal winner alongside artist Bernard Lorjou for the Prix de la Critique. In 1956, he won a referendum organised by the magazine “Connaissances des arts”. The following year, he exhibited at the Venice Biennale. In 1958, the Charpentier Gallery decided to organise the first retrospective of his work. Pierre Bergé took care of his career and shared his life before Buffet fell in love at first sight with Annabel Schwob. He depicted her in several paintings.

In the 1960s, he dedicated several works to the Church, decorating the chapel of Château l’Arc and donating several paintings to the Vatican Museum. He was made a knight of the Legion of Honour in 1971. Buffet became the youngest member of the French Academy with his appointment in 1974. Buffet suffered and declined from Parkinson’s disease, he put an end to his life in his workshop in the Var in Southern France.

Bernard Buffet’s work

Until 1999, Buffet produced about 100 pictures per year. This was a significant contribution, with a total of about 8000 canvases. His success can be explained in a context where there is debate between the abstract and the figurative. Critics were lenient, as they saw an heir to the realism of the 19th century in his work which was heavily publicised in the media. The “Bernard Buffet style” is a compromise between traditional academism and contemporary trends in art. Buffet is well-known today across the world, and has a particularly strong cult following in Japan.

Recognising Bernard Buffet’s signature

Like many artists, Bernard Buffet did not sign all of his works. However, you will find below an example of the signatures to give you an idea. Variations of these signatures do exist, do not hesitate to contact one of our experts to formally authenticate a signature.

expertise signature buffet

Appraising and selling a piece by Bernard Buffet

If you own a piece by Bernard Buffet or any other object, ask for a free estimate via our online form.

You will then be contacted by a member of our team of experts and auctioneers to give you an independent view of the market price of your piece. In the context of a possible sale, our specialists will also advise you on the different options available to sell your work at the best price.