Bernard Buffet - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “The French do really have one good painter, Buffet.” 
    — Andy Warhol
    Born in Paris in 1928, Buffet studied at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts and by the age of 19, was honoured with his first solo show. One year later, he was jointly awarded the prestigious Prix de la Critique. He was part of the constellation of young talent The New York Times named 'France's Fabulous Young Five' along with Françoise Sagan, Yves Saint Laurent, Roger Vadim and Brigitte Bardot. 


    His works are immediately recognisable for their stylistic manner, characterised by being primarily graphic, with spiky, sharp, angular forms, that are elongated and rendered in a sombre colour palette. This stylistic mode gives his work an austere and melancholic tone that has been interpreted as a representation of the emotional, brutalist state of the post-war generation. Although frequently viewed as heavy and foreboding, there is also a level of delicacy in Buffet's work, as captured in the present still life example which features a bouquet of blossoming tulips rendered against Buffet’s classic olive-yellow background.


    Tulips most commonly symbolise perfect, pure love, and are a frequent guest in Buffet’s floral works. Here, the eight flowers are presented in full bloom – and thus can be considered a sincere and straightforward expression from the heart. The number eight represents harmony, balance, and new beginnings in Christianity, which Buffet practiced. Furthermore, it is also considered a lucky number in Chinese and Asian cultures.


    “Flowers…are woven into our lives with every twist and turn of emotional events. Scarcely born, before we’re even aware of it, we inhale the subtle scents of bouquets offered to the woman who brought us into the world.”
    — Bernard Buffet


    Buffet's works are housed in some of the most notable museums around the world, including the Tate Modern in London; Museum of Modern Art in New York; Paris's Museum of Modern Art and Centre Pompidou; and a dedicated collection at the Bernard Buffet Museum in Japan. The artist's top result at auction was achieved last year in Hong Kong, which is demonstrative of his ongoing legacy & recognition across the world.



    The artist in his studio 

    • Provenance

      Galerie Maurice Garnier, Paris
      Galerie Pams, Antibes
      Private Collection (acquired from the above in April 1990)
      Christie's, London, 8 February 2005, lot 392
      Heather James Fine Art, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2011


Bouquet de tulipes

signed 'Bernard Buffet' upper right; dated '1982' upper left
oil on canvas
81 x 60 cm. (31 7/8 x 23 5/8 in.)
Painted in 1982, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Galerie Maurice Garnier.

Full Cataloguing

HK$700,000 - 900,000 

Sold for HK$1,008,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 30 November 2022