This work is recorded in the Maurice Garnier Archives.
Painted in 1954, Bernard Buffet’s Compotier et vase de fleurs dates from an important period in the artist’s career during which he achieved widespread recognition and critical acclaim for his unique figurative artistic style. Born in Paris in 1928, Buffet began his career when he enrolled at the prestigious École Nationale des Beaux Art at the age of 15. Just four years later, he had his first solo exhibition and it was on this occasion that the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris bought one of the exhibited works for its collection. By the beginning of the 1950s, Buffet had begun to receive national acclaim, and in 1955, one year after Compotier et vase de fleurs was painted, he was voted one of the greatest post-war artists in France by the art review, Connaissance des Arts. Depicting a wide variety of subjects, from landscapes and still-lifes, to portraits of clowns and nudes, Buffet’s work is now held in some of the world’s most established museums including the Tate, London, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Compotier et vase de fleurs exemplifies Buffet’s highly original, graphic style of painting. Three vessels are placed atop a table, each containing a variety of flowers and plant life, symbols perhaps of the fragility of humanity during the reconstruction of Post-War Europe at the time the work was executed. The varying heights of the vases create a visual rhythm that flows through the composition. Against a muted yellow background, the strong black angular outlines of the vases and plants are heightened, emphasising Buffet’s distinctive style. Like many of the great masters before him, Monet, Van Gogh and Matisse, to name but a few, Buffet used the still-life genre as a means of observing every day life and transforming it into a unique and highly individual painterly form. Painted at the height of his fame, Compotier et vase de fleurs encapsulates Buffet’s artistic style and vision.