Gallery spotlight: Buffet & Brauer

As a component of the exhibition, A Chicken in Every Pot and Affordable Art in Every Home, group curated by Dr. Slipp’s Spring 2021 Museum Studies class, student were assigned two prints each. They researched the artworks and wrote catalogue entries and labels for adults and children. Sticking to a tight word count, students produced different kinds of writing for different audiences.

The texts below were authored by AUM student Alyssa Spaulding

Bernard Buffet (French, 1928-1999) Le clown sur fond vert 2635B, 42 |  Skinner Auctioneers

Bernard Buffet (French, 1928-1999)    

The Clown – le clown sur fond vert, 1961    

Color Lithograph, 26 x 20 inches

Label for Adults – Bernard Buffet is an internationally-known artist, famous for his style of lengthened and elongated figures with sharp lines and dark, somber colors.  While Buffet was most known for paintings, his lithography reflected similar themes and style.  The angularity of his linework is not only represented in the contours of the clown but extended out into the background over and under the color.  This invocation of mood proves his skill of expression. 

Label for Kids – What do you think of when you think of a clown?  Do you think happy or sad?  What do you feel when you look at this artwork?  

This artist used “lithography” to make this, meaning he drew on limestone with different colors, wet the stone, then put the wet stone on paper, and the colors stick to the paper.

Catalogue entry  Bernard Buffet was a French Expressionist, best known for his figurative paintings though he was also an accomplished printmaker.  He was born in Paris, France in 1928, studied at the National School of Fine Arts, and showed his first painting in 1946—he thereafter exhibited work every year. 

He painted around 8,000 paintings in his lifetime and developed a very definitive style.  He actively rejected abstraction, which was popular during this time.  He exhibited internationally, and in November 1973 the Bernard Buffet Museum was founded in Japan.  Ultimately, he took his own life in 1999 after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s disease.

His artworks are iconic with their stylized angular and elongated subjects in somber colors.  The Clown reflects Buffet’s trademark style with an elongated face, sharp features, and melancholic color choices.

Sources Consulted

“Bernard Buffet,”

“Bernard Buffet,”

“Bernard Buffet,”

Bill Brauer (American, 1938-2019)      

Sphynx, 1974

Etching, 9.75 x 8.75 inches

Label for Adults – Bill Brauer became known as Vermont’s “painter of women” and was most famous for sensual paintings. In the 1960’s, Brauer started printmaking and created works like Sphynx.  In this intaglio etching, his subject is different than the usual soft sensual women in later paintings.  Here he uses etching’s notorious crisp lines and dark tones to his advantage, portraying an all-together different, mythical interpretation of femininity.

Label for Kids – Have you ever heard about a “sphynx”?  It’s a mythical creature that has a woman’s head, a lion’s body, and wings—and asks riddles.  The artist drew this on a metal plate, put ink inside the lines, and then smooshed it onto a piece of paper, like a stamp.

Catalogue entry  Born in Queens, New York in 1938, Bill Brauer loved to draw figures —failing high school art because he preferred to draw the human body over still lifes.  He studied under surrealist painter, Federico Castellon, and though he developed as a printmaker in etching and lithography, he preferred painting above all else. 

In 1974, Brauer had his first major exhibition in printmaking at the Associated American Artists gallery. However, he became nationally renowned for his paintings of women and for the sensuality of his technique and motifs.  Brauer died in 2019. 

Sphynx echoes his long-standing interest in depicting women, but it also shows his great love of Greek and Egyptian mythology.  His focus on value and intricate lines harmoniously band together to “take on their own presence, adding an air of mystery to the works.”

Sources Consulted

“Bill Brauer,”

“Bill Brauer,”

“Remembering Brauer,”


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