Art: Mere Misery

The white-haired boy of the Paris art world is Bernard Buffet, a dour, 23-year-old recluse. His paintings are miserable in mood, dingy in color, austere in composition and lifeless in essence. Yet he sells almost everything he does, for fat prices—and rake-thin Artist Buffet paints upwards of 100 canvases a year.

Last week a Paris gallery proudly displayed three mural-sized Buffets representing the Flagellation, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. Each was spare as an Egyptian frieze, ominous as a nightmare. Haggard men in black swimming trunks and bony women in black dresses posed stiffly and grimly against dirty white skies. The resurrected...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!