Balthus | Count Balthasar Klossowski de Rola has had major
retrospectives of his art work the New York Metropolitan Museum of
Art as well as the Tate Gallery in London but throughout his life
he rarely gave interviews and seldom allowed himself to be
The reclusive and elusive Balthus, born
in Paris in 1905, believed his paintings explained themselves and
the artist himself named only a few. He felt his paintings should
only be seen — not read about or read into. For this reason,
there may be various names given to any particular Balthus
painting for the purpose of identification. The list of paintings
below comes close to being “authoritative".
Balthus was always extremely
controversial. The Surrealists admired him a great deal but he was
generally considered private, evocative, and mysterious — just
like his paintings of landscapes, still lifes, street scenes and
Although his mother was an artist, the count taught himself how to
paint by trial and error — mostly by copying Old Masters.
He felt the painting was very similar to praying.
Although his many paintings of pre-teen
and teenage girls are among his most controversial, it is argued
by some that this in no way indicates an obsession or fetish on
the part of Balthus. According to the eldest son of Balthus,
Stanislas Klossowski de Rola, if there is any obsession, it's
“in the tye of the beholder".
“The girls are in fact
untouchable archetypes of purity belonging to a higher realm.
Their very youth is the emblem of an ageless body of glory, as
adolescence aptly symbolizes that heavenward state of growth to
which Plato refers to in the 'Timaeus'. ... It is indeed
unfortunate that the sacred nature of eroticism is all too often
associated with pornography and libidinousness, a deplorable
confusion that obscures the real meaning of such esoteric works
ultimately relating to the divine cosmic mysteries of love and
After being wounded in 1939 during the
Second World War, he moved to Switzerland where he remained until
the war ended, at which time he returned to his birthplace. He
moved back to Switzerland in 1977 where he lived until his death
Below we list some of Balthus' most famous paintings.
We welcome comments about them and invite you to vote
for your favorite. However, please be informed that our time is very
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history or meaning of a particular painting or the artist. All info we have prepared is already published
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