Painter, lithographer, illustrator, muralist. Born in Speicher, Switzerland on January 15, 1886. Buff was trained as a lace designer at the School of Arts and Crafts in St. Gallen, Switzerland and at age 18 studied briefly in Munich. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1905 and, since he spoke no English, moved to Wisconsin where there was a large Swiss population. There he worked as a sheepherder before moving to Los Angeles in 1906. While supporting himself as a house painter, he regularly made sketching trips into the deserts of Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, and in his leisure began painting desert landscapes. He developed a lifelong friendship with Maynard Dixon who often accompanied him on these sketching trips. In 1922 he married Mary Marsh who was an artist and assistant curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She gave up painting to write children’s books which her husband illustrated. A self-taught artist, he used a pointillist technique to create stark mountain and desert landscapes. Buff was a resident of Pasadena and Laguna Hills where he died on March 11, 1975. His work won many awards in Southern California exhibitions.
Member: California Art Club.
Exhibited: California Art Club, 1920-30; Painters and Sculptors of Los Angeles, 1920-37; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1923, 1929, 1937, 1940; San Diego Museum of Art, 1925; Modern Art Worksers, 1926; Stendahl Galleries, Los Angeles, 1927, 1934; Carmelita House, Los Angeles, 1927; Oakland Art Gallery, 1932; Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, 1939, Commonwealth Club, Los Angeles, 1950.
Works held: British Museum, London, England; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco; Detroit Institute of Art, MI; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Los Angeles Public Library; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach; San Diego Museum of Art.
Murals: Guarantee Building and Loan Association of Los Angeles; Mormon Church, Huntington Park; Phoenix National Bank, AZ; Southern California Edison Building, Los Angeles; William Penn Hotel, Whittier.