Lot 47
  • 47

BERNARD BUFFET | Jaguar 1955, 1984

50,000 - 70,000 EUR
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  • Bernard Buffet
  • Jaguar 1955, 1984
  • huile sur toile
  • 97,3 x 130,7 cm; 38 1/4 x 51 1/2 in.
signed Bernard Buffet upper left; titled Jaguar 1955 on the reverse; oil on canvas


Galerie Maurice Garnier, Paris
Pierre Bergé, Paris


Paris, Galerie Maurice Garnier, L'Automobile, 1985, illustrated in the catalogue np


Yann Le Pichon, Bernard Buffet 1982-1999, Paris, 2007, vol. III, no. 938, illustrated p. 29


It has not been possible to see the work entirely unframed. The canvas is not lined. There is a milky varnish preventing UV light from fully penetrating, however examination under UV light appears to reveal no evidence of retouching. There are a few small spots of paint shrinkage in the black pigment to the extreme left window. There are some scattered bristles from artist's brush in places, most predominately to the car and to the beige background. There are a few surface scratches, probably original, to the sky. There is some frame rubbing along the extreme edges. Impasto is nice and well preserved. This work is in overall very good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by the Galerie Maurice Garnier.
In 1984 Bernard Buffet again became interested in the theme of automobiles and Jaguar 1955 is part of this series which culminated in the exhibition at the Maurice Garnier gallery in 1985. After the exhibition Andy Warhol declared moreover in an interview with Benjamin Buchloh that his favorite French artist was Bernard Buffet: "The last great Parisian artist is Bernard Buffet [...] his work is good, his technique is really good, he is as good as the other French artist who died a few days ago, Dubuffet."

Like Pierre Bergé, Bernard Buffet loved beautiful houses and cars: with Pierre Bergé they first had a bicycle, then a moped, a Citroën 2CV; a second-hand Jaguar (depicted in the present painting) and finally a Rolls-Royce. These cars revealed his passion for collecting rather than car racing as, surprisingly, Bernard Buffet did not drive.

The Jaguar model XK 120 from 1955 holds pride of place in the centre of the painting without a driver, it is the icon of the composition, the lines are simple and drawn out, Bernard Buffet's talent as a draughtsman is evident. The only element of décor is the gas station Texaco, Mobil in the background. Bernard Buffet was a great amateur of the Hergé's hero Tintin and like the comic strip the work conveys an illustrative force and has a particularly decorative character.

The raising up everyday objects to the rank of artworks recalls the group of artists first called the New realists and then Pop Artists. Bernard Buffet is indeed close to the Pop Art movement in both his theme and the treatment of the work. Here he lifts a consumer object to the ranks of an emblem whilst employing his own simplified and standardized style. The effect of the series also emphasizes this classification of his art, Bernard Buffet painted in all 10 different types of car from Citroën's 2CV to the Rolls-Royce that he particularly liked. The repetitive use of décor referring to the petrol trade "Mobil, Antar, Veedol, Texaco, Shell or Castrol" also recalls one of Pop Art's preferred themes, advertising, popular imagery and democratization.

Otto Letze writes on this subject in Bernard Buffet un regard Allemand : "by dealing with issues such as superficiality, banality and monotony, his paintings show society in its everyday preoccupations. Buffet shares with Pop artists a taste for ordinary objects, simple forms and repetitions, themes which until now had scarcely been touched upon."