Oil on canvas
The museum owns 17 works by Bernard Buffet, including 13 paintings dating from 1948-1950, all forming part of a bequest from Maurice Girardin who was one of his earliest admirers and collectors.
Self-portrait, 1949, exhibited at the very start of his career, earned the young painter immediate recognition which reached its peak with a retrospective organised by the Charpentier gallery in 1958. In 1959, Pierre Descargues identified Bernard Buffet’s obsession with “endlessly painting his own portrait”, “fascinated by himself […] a lone boy in front of a bare wall, impassive or grimacing […]. Do this unquenched curiosity, absorbed in its own anxiety, and this refusal to invent features other than his own betray a profound sense of loneliness?” (P. Descargues, 1959).
As part of the artist’s questioning approach to painting, man and memory, he paints himself, examining the canvas and baring his teeth “in a mixture of sarcasm and stupor”, in contrast to his doppelganger in The Drinker, who is a melancholy figure.