Three weeks ago the New York Times got on board with the Bernard Buffet boomlet. This week, the follow through has been strong with a number of Buffet’s works on offer at both houses.
The surge of early works, nary a clown painting in site, is also noteworthy.There are 13 Bernard Buffet works on offer this week: 2 at Sotheby’s and 11 at Christie’s. There’s only one clown painting.
There have a been a handful of surprisingly strong sales in the last year; a new biography of the painter was published in part to explore whether Buffet’s reputation as the definition of bad taste was truly deserved; and there was on view in Paris, for the first time, a retrospective of Buffet’s work.
Here’s the Times on the trend:
Fabrice Hergott, director of the Musée d’Art Moderne, decided to put on the Buffet exhibition. Through about 100 paintings — a small sampling of the 8,000 or more this prolific painter and illustrator produced[.…]
Mr. Hergott now sees in Buffet, who killed himself after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and could no longer work, a rare mastery of technique, an inventive approach to subject matter and the striking intensity of his paintings that can, he said, eclipse any other art in the room. “Buffet has painted hundreds of masterpieces,” he said. “His œuvre is one of the greatest of the 20th century.”
That last comment is the eye-opener. It’s a long way from Buffet’s reputation to travel. But that opinion isn’t only held by academics. The market too has begun to have high hopes for Buffet:
“There has been a change of taste, and the new generation of buyers is not looking at Buffet with the same disdain,” said Bruno Jaubert, director of Impressionist and Modern Art at Artcurial[…]
Buffet: A Life of Success, Rejection and Now a Celebration (The New York Times)