Scarce monographic catalogue on Balthus, published in Japan in 1993 for an exhibition at the Tokyo Station Gallery. Profusely illustrated in colour and black and white with Balthus’ paintings and drawings dating from 1932-1987. Includes text by Jean Leymarie (in French and Japanese), list of exhibitions, biography, bibliography, list of works, portraits of Balthus by Irving Penn, Cecil Beaton, 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.”
Balthus (February 29, 1908 – February 18, 2001), was a Polish-French modern artist born in Paris to Polish expatriate parents. His given name was Balthasar Klossowski – his sobriquet “Balthus” was based on his childhood nickname, alternately spelled Baltus, Baltusz, Balthusz or Balthus. His father, Erich Klossowski, was an art historian who wrote a noted monograph on Daumier. His older brother was the philosopher and artist Pierre Klossowski. An unusual figure in the history of twentieth century painting, Balthus both traveled among and drew upon the work of other major artists of his time, while at the same time following a unique individual trajectory. He was mentored by, friends of, and/or even collaborated with seminal creative figures from different eras, including Antonin Artaud, André Breton, and Rainer Maria Rilke, while cultivating his own highly refined style of dreamlike, classically-informed painting. The scenes he usually depicted were very ordinary bourgeois interiors or outdoor settings, which nonetheless managed to reveal the heightened inner states of his subjects as well as the states of mind of those who might be viewing them.
“I always feel the desire to look for the extraordinary in ordinary things; to suggest, not to impose, to leave always with a slight touch of mystery in my paintings.” – Balthus
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