Saturday, May 17, 2008


Wuthering Heights by Balthus

Ganymede by Balthus (Ciudad de la Pintura)

Balthasar Kłossowski de Rola (1908 - 2001), known as Balthus, was a Polish-French artist.

Balthus claimed to be a count. Balthus was not what he seemed. He produced lots of pictures of young males.

"Balthus is not a count... On his mother's side he's the grandson of an illustrious cantor whose name still resounds in Poland.

"His father may or may not have been Jewish or gentry.

"His childhood was not pampered but haphazard - a series of shabby digs in Paris, Lausanne and Berlin, with the dirty ears of genteel poverty - and, it seems, unhappy, his father absent, his mother acting the poetess." (Salon Books "Balthus: A Biography" by Nicholas Fox Weber)

Balthus's style is mainly classical and academic.

His technique and compositions were inspired by pre-renaissance painters.

His paintings and drawings show the influence of de Chrico, Emily Brontë, Lewis Carroll, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Simone Martini, Poussin, Jean Etienne Liotard, Joseph Reinhardt, Géricault, Ingres, Goya, Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Courbet, Edgar Degas, Félix Vallotton and Paul Cézanne. (Balthus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

In 1937 he married Antoinette de Watteville, who had been the model for La Toilette

One of the paintings from his first exhibition in Paris was The Guitar Lesson (1934), which caused controversy due to its sexually explicit depiction of a pre-pubescent girl held on the lap of her teacher in a highly provocative pose. (Balthus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )

"I really don't understand why people see the paintings of girls as Lolitas," Balthus told the chief art critic of The New York Times, Michael Kimmelman, in 1996. "My little model is absolutely untouchable to me. Some American journalist said he found my work pornographic. What does he mean? Everything now is pornographic. Advertising is pornographic. You see a young woman putting on some beauty product who looks like she's having an orgasm. I've never made anything pornographic. Except perhaps `The Guitar Lesson.' " (Obituaries )

In 1953, he moved into the Chateau de Chassy in the Morvan, living with his niece Frédérique Tison and finishing his large-scale masterpieces La Chambre.

In 1967 he married a Japanese girl called Setsuko Ideta. She was thirty-five years younger than him.