Henri Beaufour is singular, in that he offers us a vision of beauty, free from the strictures of academicism or anti-academicism, that differs from the one to which we are accustomed. The artist is never quite where we expect him to be: his innutrition colludes with outsider art, enticing us to see ourselves anew, and forcing us to rid ourselves of a normative gaze, the better to understand the work. Beaufour’s singularity lies essentially in the fact that he represents us as equal to the mood that animates us. Like an ogre, the artist gorges himself on our humanity and discards the dregs of our moods. Consequently, his sculptures are extraordinarily free, disfiguring both the materials and the portraits represented, and attain peaks of unrivalled expressionism.

The artist draws forth from the material an inescapable truth and a state of being — novel propositions to which the discomfited visitor is positively obliged to yield, in order to understand the work. In his paintings, Beaufour invents the “undecorated”: his portraits and characters are depicted right against the canvas. There is neither decoration nor scope for visual diversion; confusion is neither permitted, nor is a way out provided. Beaufour offers us works that are unflinching in their honesty and unpretentious. They are raw and brutal yet terribly endearing, as the mirrors of ourselves.

Emmanuelle de Rochegonde, the artist’s agent, with Frédéric Elkaïm, curator and contemporary art market specialist

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