Original Abstract Oil Painting A32 by Conrad Buff. Painting dimensions: 9.5 in H x 6.5 in W. Frame dimensions: 12 in H x 9 in W. Very good condition. California, c. 1970
In 1905, Conrad Buff, who had been born and educated in Switzerland left his home county and set out for America in hopes of getting away from the “narrow, conservative mentalities” that he said “oppressed him.” His introduction to the American West began in Wyoming where he stayed on a cattle ranch belonging to the family of a fellow art student he’d met in Switzerland. Eventually he made his way to settle in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Eagle Rock California via a short stay in San Francisco.
California Impressionism was the dominant style during Buff’s early years in California and thus influenced his work. He made a name for himself using the broken brush stroke of impressionism whilst simultaneously introducing clearly defined outlines and solid forms using architectural precision. His identifiable technique offered a fresh approach to landscape painting. His paintings were widely appreciated and today they hang in museums, galleries and private collections around the world.
During his early years in Los Angeles, while Buff was living in Eagle Rock and supporting himself as a house painter, he took art classes. After a stint at the Arts Student League of Los Angeles, where he was dissatisfied with the instruction, he studies at Los Angeles High School where in addition to painting landscapes and portraits “he created a series that was never shown publicly: hundreds of small, nonobjective oils unlike anything painted in Southern California”. It was this early exploratory work that laid the foundation for his later, vibrant expression of the western landscape using the shape, line, and color that he has come to be known for.
“In later years, particularly the 1960s and early ‘70s, Buff often worked with a thicker brush stroke that reduced detail. In Mesa, Buff’s cross-hatching is replaced by broad strokes that both stand alone and overlap. He worked to create images of clearly articulated, interlocking shapes that evoked the weight, solidity, and space of the landscape he was painting. He discovered that this type of image offered a sense of immediacy and power.”
Eventually Buff returned to the practice of creating small, nonobjective oil paintings. He experimented with series of shapes and colors placed next to each other, a variety of brush strokes and thickly layered paint. The paintings are intense, focused, and genuine. The master’s hand is evident, as is the spirit of the western adventurer.
“I always felt that the foundation of all painting, of all pictorial painting, lay in the arrangements of areas – area against area and color against color – and anything besides that was more or less just something extra.” - Conrad Buff