This 1955 work by Bernard Buffet belongs to a series of around 10 portraits of collectors dear to the artist.
Bernard Buffet’s landscapes and still-lifes are omnipresent on the market, and this sale is no exception. They will be represented by a 1998 painting, Fleurs sur fond vert (Flowers on Green Background; estimate: €75,000/100,000), and another from 1975, Environs de Cher, le chêne vert en automne, parc du château de Vieille-Ville (Environs of Cher, the Green Oak in Autumn, Grounds of the Château of the Old Town; €65,000/€85,000). But portraits are much harder to come by, which is why this one of Hervé Ségard is likely to arouse plenty of interest. It belongs to a series of around 10 portraits Buffet painted in 1954 and 1955 of his own initiative – they were not commissioned – to honor collectors who believed in him early in his career. It is worth recalling that Buffet was just 27 in 1955. He had exhibited his first painting, a self-portrait, nine years earlier at the Galerie des Beaux-arts. Then, in 1947, the Drouant-David Gallery hosted his first solo show and a year later he signed a contract with the gallerist Emmanuel David, later shared with Maurice Garnier. Pierre Descargues devoted a book to him in 1949, and in 1955, the readers of Connaissance des arts magazine voted Buffet the best post-war painter. An endearing man who enjoyed high society, Buffet piqued the interests of many collectors. The 1955 series thus includes a portrait of Belgian industrialist Hervé Ségard. These works herald a shift towards color and more decorative effects, such as this background of a green tapestry with red flowers, which is found in all the series’ portraits – a light, whimsical touch that, in the end, suits him very well.