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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Balthus ; (Balthasar Klossowski de Rola)


Solitaire
1943
Oil on canvas
63 1/2 x 64 3/8 in. (161.3 x 163.5 cm)
The Art Institute of Chicago

Count Balthasar Klossowski (or Kłossowski) de Rola (1908 – 2001), best known as Balthus, was an esteemed but controversial Polish-French modern artist. His mother engaged, under the name of Baladine, in a long-lasting relationship with the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who acted as Balthus’s mentor, providing etchings to accompany many of his poems.

Many of Balthus's paintings show young girls in an erotic context. Balthus insisted that his work was not erotic but that it recognized the discomforting facts of children's sexuality. His work shows numerous influences, including the writings of Emily Brontë, the writings and photography of Lewis Carroll, and the paintings of Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Poussin, Ingres, Goya, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Courbet, Edgar Degas and Paul Cézanne, etc.

Throughout his career, Balthus rejected the usual conventions of the art world. He insisted that his paintings should be seen and not read about, and he resisted any attempts made to build a biographical profile. A telegram sent to the Tate Gallery as it prepared for its 1968 retrospective of his works read: "NO BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS. BEGIN: BALTHUS IS A PAINTER OF WHOM NOTHING IS KNOWN. NOW LET US LOOK AT THE PICTURES. REGARDS. B."

Appreciated for many years by only a handful of collectors, and ostensibly out of step with the modern movement, Balthus’s classically inspired work won the recognition and admiration of a wider public only late in his career.
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard