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Bernard Buffet (France, 1928-1999)
This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When au… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN ESTEEMED PRIVATE FRENCH COLLECTION
Bernard Buffet (France, 1928-1999)

Clown aux tasses à café

Bernard Buffet (France, 1928-1999)
Clown aux tasses à café
signed 'Bernard Buffet' (upper right) and dated '1996' (upper left)
oil on canvas
100.4 x 73.3 cm. (39 1/2 x 28 7/8 in.)
Painted in 1996
Galerie Garnier, Paris.
Galerie Christian Dazy and Lorella Santiago, Dijon, by whom acquired from the above in the late 1990s.
Private collection, France.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.

This work is recorded in the Maurice Garnier Archives.
Special Notice

This Lot has been sourced from overseas. When auctioned, such property will remain under “bond” with the applicable import customs duties and taxes being deferred unless and until the property is brought into free circulation in the PRC. Prospective buyers are reminded that after paying for such lots in full and cleared funds, if they wish to import the lots into the PRC, they will be responsible for and will have to pay the applicable import customs duties and taxes. The rates of import customs duty and tax are based on the value of the goods and the relevant customs regulations and classifications in force at the time of import.
Sale Room Notice
Please note that the size of this work is 100.4 x 73.3 cm. (39 1/2 x 28 7/8 in.) and not as stated in the printed catalogue.
拍品编号309 的正确尺寸为100.4 x 73.3 cm. (39 1/2 x 28 7/8 in.)

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Lot Essay

This work is recorded in the Maurice Garnier Archives.

“No artist anywhere has ever been as popular in his lifetime as Buffet…Today, we could compare him to Jeff Koons or Takashi Murakami, but neither has achieved Buffet’s universal popularity” – F. Hergott, quoted in New York Times, 20 October 2016

Buffet's prolific career spanned the majority of the 20th-century. Having studied in Paris from 1943, Buffet had his first solo exhibition in 1947, aged just 19. Enthusiastically supported by French art critic, Pierre Descargues, by the beginning of the 1950s, Buffet had begun to achieve national acclaim, and in 1955 was voted one of the greatest post-war artists in France by the art review Connaissance des Arts. A predominantly figurative artist, Buffet developed a distinctive and unmistakable style depicting highly stylised figures and objects with strong, expressive black lines and flattened, bold colour such as is exemplified in Clown aux tasses à café.

Buffet first turned to the subject of clowns and the circus in 1955, when he created a series of works that also featured acrobats and trapeze artists. The figure of the harlequin or clown enthralled many early 20th-century avant-garde artists, particularly Pablo Picasso. Picasso likewise pictured the harlequin, a character often viewed as the alter ego of the artist himself, with a decidedly introspective, contemplative quality.

The present lot was executed as part of a second major Clown series in 1996. While the compositional elements remain unchanged – sharply arched eyebrows; a red circle for a nose; the exaggerated make-up on his face contrasting sharply with his listless expression, the 1996 Clown seems to return to the theme with a different perspective from that employed during the Post-War period. When compared to his first, almost monochrome Circus series, the strongly expressionistic brushwork and raw, unmixed application of thickly impastoed paint, demonstrate the advancement of colour over line in Buffet’s practice over his long career. While during the Post- War period Buffet had turned the clown into a symbol of malaise and suffering, at the end of the 20th century the artist seemed to depict the same subject in a way that hinted at a coming to terms with their disillusionment.

Wearing the traditional accoutrements of a stereotypical clown, his eyes looking up focused on the perfectly balanced stack of coffee cups on his head, his expression gleeful and content. Unaffected by the comic appearances of their condition, the figure in the present lot displays a forbearing, perhaps even hopeful stance.

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