Three tall ships at anchor under limited sunlight form the subject matter of this art work by Bernard Buffet. This print is a reduced copy of Buffet’s original work and is visually captivating despite its smaller scale. Although a complete description of the original has not been located yet, I believe it may be a large oil painting that was then copied using color lithography and the example here is a greatly reduced version for drawing attention to an exhibition held in 1968 at a Gallery in Paris. The framed image for sale here is a color copy of good quality on special treated card stock (clay-lined card stock).
Images of tall masted sailing ships from 150 years ago and more have always captured my interest. Buffet’s style shown here is a mixture of neo-realism along with dramatically emphasized black lines, a technique he developed early and was widely applauded. Whether he compiled this from existing ships along coastal France or elsewhere or created it from a variety of sources is unknown to me today. And as with any art work, there is no single interpretation of what these images are meant to project, either.
The scene seems to be filled with contradictions from the surreal clarity of the water immediately around each vessel and the rigging and the image sharpness of the masts to the vagueness of the background that blends into the sky and yet looks like stained and aged concrete rather than clouds. In fact, there are no clear images beyond the ships whereas the placid water in the foreground has captured the reflections of part of each hull and has also intensified some of the ethereal light. The sun itself either has just risen or is about to set based on the shadows cast by just the hulls. The location of sun itself in relationship to the viewer is partly elusive and contradictory since some sunlight is reflected off the very still surface of the water while other traces of sunlight oddly highlight part of the side of each hull. Thin reflections and linear traces of light are also visible vertically along the masts and some ropes and rigging and these highlights add further to an exaggerated and celestial quality of the scene.
Bernard Buffet art work is renown around the world, however this is not the time nor place to acknowledge all but a cursory review of his accomplishments. He was born in 1928 in Paris and died in 1999. He had his first painting shown in 1946, sold a painting the following year to the Paris Museum of Modern Art (via Raymond Cogniat) and had several more of his paintings added to the Museum’s collections over subsequent years. In 1948, Buffet signed an exclusive contract with the Emmanuel David Gallery that was subsequently shared with Maurice Garnier. By age 30, he had his first retrospective of his work held at a gallery. In 1973, the Bernard Buffet Museum was inaugurated in Surugadaira, Japan. The following year he was elected to the Academie des Beaux-Arts. Since 1952, he has had solo exhibitions in galleries in France and also staged more than two dozen international exhibitions including New York, Chicago, Madrid, Zurich, Rome, Montreal, Berlin, Tokyo, etc. In 1971, he donated at special request of the Secretary to Pope John Paul VI a series of paintings on the life of Jesus Christ that remain on permanent exhibition.
Bernard Buffet’s awards and artistic accomplishments are impressive and even a cursory review would consume several more pages. The framed image for sale here appears to be either an exhibition mailing notice or a commemorative card issued to recognize a 1968 showing of Bernard Buffet’s art work at Maurice Garnier’s Gallery. In that year, the Garnier Galley held a Buffet exhibition along the theme titled ‘Beaches’ and where these ship silhouettes could be included. There is a caption consisting of one line printed on flap that folds under the card. The Caption is in Danish and is translated here as: ‘ Minerva Reproduction - Maurice Garnier Gallery, Paris, 1968 - Bernard Buffet: The Black Ships 1965.’ And so the name of this print is ‘The Black Ships’ and apparently it was completed by Buffet in 1965. As noted, this is a reduced copy of Buffet’s original art work. Where the original work is today is not known, however much larger lithograph copies can be found among print sellers and dealers. This reduced version still captures the energy and genius of Buffet’s original work and is printed in color on clay lined (slick surfaced) card stock. It would make a nice gift for the art connoisseur, collector, art student or memorabilia afficionado. The last photo shows a closeup magnified view of the quality of the printing that uses a type of color screening or half tone process and tiny colored dots (see last photo). This framed print also comes with a full satisfaction guarantee or you may return it post marked by 14 days for a refund as long as it is undamaged (see my return policy below for full details).
SIZE & CONDITION: The wood frame with glass measures about 9 by 11 inches and is ready for hanging on the wall (has a hanging hook on the back; see Photos). It is matted and the frame and matting appear to be at least 30 to 40 years old. The printed image is slightly bigger than the opening through the matting, and the visible portion of the image as currently matted is 4 1/2 inches by 6 3/8 inches. The paper on the back of the frame has been opened and can be reopened easily again. The glass and frame are clean and have no major scratches or damage (see all Photos). Of course, if the buyer is not 100% satisfied, then she/he may return this item for a refund (see our complete return policy noted below).
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