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 Bernard Buffet. Head of Clown. (1955).

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Bernard Buffet Museum

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Bernard Buffet. Head of Clown. (1955).

Bernard Buffet is regarded as an expressionnist painter, it represents portraits, animals, naked, landscapes, and still lifes. Illustrator it carries out also decorations for the theater. Its work immediately draws the attention of the public and the critic which devotes it while allotting to him in 1948, with Bernard Lorjou, the price of Criticism. In 1952 it receives the Antral Price. In 1955, it obtains the first place with the referendum organized by the review Knowledge of arts appointing the ten best painters of the post-war period. In May 1971, it is named chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Bernard Buffet carries out the synthesis between modern pictorial forms and traditional subjects. It can adapt to the climate dominating of the post-war period and waitings of its public. From the Fifties the artist carries out many faces of clowns. So much so that these paintings become a little its trademark. The silhouette of the clown returns to the symbolism of Harlequin. With its costumes of black and white rhombuses it evokes the continual change of dark and light, of the joy and sadness. Often he laughs but he could also cry, and here the clown is quite sad. There is in him an intensity of overflowing life but it is penetrated of darkness of beyond, he is conscious of the inescapable end. This prototype is ambivalent it overflows of life and of all these joys but it is also the symbol which one day all must be completed. 

The point of view of the spectator is located in the middle of the picture. However the glance goes up irresistibly, attracted by the sad eyes of the character. 

The geometrical center of the painting is under the nose. The face is framed perfectly by the 4 tension fields. The eyes are located very close to the 2 higher natural points of interest. 

The silhouette of the clown occupies exactly a third of pictorial space. The remainder consists of vacuum. (Here the bottom is a blue wall.)

A great majority of the guiding lines are horizontal. Even lines located on the wall constituting the bottom. Between the joy and sadness, the life or death, the artist remains neutral and does not engage. 

Details : 

This clown is not young, of many wrinkles appear on his face.

With regard to the eyes the right-sided is clear and the dark left side. This reinforces the evocation of the figure of Harlequin with his black and white suit.

The orange rectangle on the mouth and the green triangle on the chin are a malicious wink and an evocation of the cubism.

The character seems enlightened by the right.

Harmony and Contrasts: 
Many contrasts between hot and cold colors and complementary colors.

Similars Paintings : 

Bernard Buffet : The Blue Clown. (1985).

Bernard Buffet : Clown. (1978).

Bernard Buffet : Military Clown. (1998).

Bernard Buffet : Clown with the Green Hat (1998).