Bernard Buffet was born in Paris on July 10, 1928. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts between 1944 and 1945. Under the influence of French painter Francis Gruber, his work enjoyed great success. In 1948, he was a joint winner (along with Bernard Lorjon) of the Prix de la Critique. In 1973 a museum near Mishima Japan opened which was exclusively dedicated to his work.
His paintings and prints express a sense of anxiety, which he associated with the philosophical movement of Existentialism. He favoured tragic subjects such as scenes representing the horrors of warfare. In 1965, he exhibited a series of paintings in Paris, which depicted flayed figures. His later work includes landscapes and expressive narrative pictures, exemplifying his ability to synthesize modern pictoral forms with traditional techniques and subject matter.