While Bernard Buffet (b. 1928, Paris, France; d. 1999, Tourtour, France) was once hailed as the next Picasso in France and internationally, the artist’s work has weathered dizzying cycles of acclaim and rejection. Immensely popular – and always commercially successful – at numerous points in his career, Buffet suffered long spells of vicious critical repudiation, when his work was considered the ultimate embodiment of poor taste. But curatorial attention has returned to his oeuvre in the years since his death, culminating in a major retrospective of his work at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 2016, organized by the museum’s director, Fabrice Hergott.
At this moment of renewed relevance, Bernard Buffet: Paintings from 1956 to 1999 reintroduces the artist’s oeuvre to a new generation of American viewers, charting a history of the artist’s development through a tightly focused selection of highlights from Buffet’s career. The paintings at Venus demonstrate Buffet’s unflinching devotion to figurative painting in the face of countervailing developments in abstraction during the 20th century.