graphite on paper
21.9 x 17.5 inches (55,6 x 44,5 cm)
31.5 x 25 inches framed
signed lower left
Odyssia Gallery, New York
Christie's New York, Impressionist and Modern Drawings and Watercolors, May 16, 1990, lot 204
Property from the Estate of Janet Brown, Oyster Bay, NY
Balthus/MATRIX, University Art Museum, Berkeley, California, November 1, 1980 - December 31, 1980
The controversial Polish-French artist Count Balthazar Klossowski de Rola (commonly known as Balthus), is best known for his paintings of young Lolita-type girls depicted in highly suggestive poses. Although these works have made him one of the cult figures of modern art, they have also, in later years, brought him considerable notoriety. Throughout his career, he rejected classification, demanding that his paintings be viewed in the flesh and not categorized or written about. Balthus was primarily interested in figurative painting, although he did paint some landscapes. His most famous works include The Street (1933, Museum of Modern Art, New York) and The Guitar Lesson (1934, private collection). A self-taught artist, Balthus despised modern abstraction, preferring to pay homage to Old Masters like Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) and Piero della Francesca (1483-1520).
Balthus was one of the few living artists ever to be represented by the Louvre, who purchased his painting The Children, from Pablo Picasso. His work now hangs in the world's best art museums. When he died in 2001, Prime Ministers and rock stars attended his funeral. Painting at a time when figurative art was largely ignored, Balthus is recognised as one of the most controversial and innovative 20th century painters.