Balthus

BALTHUS Z ŻONĄ I CÓRKĄ



BALTHUS, właściwie Balthasar Kłossowski de Rola (ur. 29 lutego 1908 w Paryżu, zm. 18 lutego 2001 w Rossiniere w Szwajcarii), malarz.

Zarówno jego ojciec, polski historyk sztuki Eryk Kłossowski herbu Rola, jak i matka, Elżbieta Spiro, córka kantora synagogi Pod Białym Bocianem, zajmowali się malarstwem. Również wuj Balthusa, Eugen Spiro był malarzem. W 1914, po wybuchu wojny, Kłossowscy przenieśli się najpierw do Niemiec, a potem do Szwajcarii. Oficjalnie Balthus zadebiutował już w 1921 cyklem czterdziestu rysowanych tuszem obrazków które wykonał, mając osiem lat, przedstawiających przygody kotka Mitsou, zebranych w tomiku, który wydał i wstępem opatrzył Rainer Maria Rilke.

W 1924 Balthus wrócił do Paryża, gdzie rozpoczął studia artystyczne. Jego pierwsza wystawa odbyła się w galerii w Paryżu. Malarstwo Balthusa, oryginalne i niepoddające się próbom klasyfikacji, należy do najbardziej pasjonujący zjawisk XX-wiecznej sztuki. Twórca zachowuje realizm, lecz malowane przez niego wnętrza i pejzaże miejskie bliskie są surrealizmowi, jednak nie chciał być kojarzony z tym ruchem. Właściwie nie przyłączył się do żadnej grupy ani szkoły. Częstym motywem jego dzieł są koty i młode dziewczęta. Oprócz obrazów Balthus tworzył także ilustracje książkowe oraz scenografie teatralne.

Powiedział, że jego malarstwo jest głęboko religijne, a sam akt malowania jest modlitwą. Jednak już pierwsza wystawa w Paryżu wywołała kontrowersje. Artysta zyskał opinię malującego młode, wyzywające dziewczęta. Jednak autor tłumaczył się, że to stan swobody i ufności właściwy dzieciństwu, stan radosnej niewinności.

Bratem Baltazara Klossowskiego był znany filozof francuski Pierre Klossowski.

Za: http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balthus


 
BALTHUS – STULECIE URODZIN



W Fundacji Pierre-Gianadda w Martigny (francuska część Szwajcarii) prezentowana jest wystawa retrospektywna Balthusa. Ekspozycja została zorganizowana z okazji stulecia urodzin francusko-szwajcarskiego malarza o polskim rodowodzie. Prezentowanych jest ponad 60 płócien z ponad 330, które Balthus namalował w ciągu całego życia.
http://www.fondation-balthus.com/

Urodzony 29 lutego 1908 roku w Paryżu, Balthazar Klossowski de Rola zmarł 18 lutego 2001 roku w Grand Chalet czyli w jego legendarnym domu w Rossinière. Dom pobudowany w roku 1754, stał się „oazą” Balthusa i jego żony Setsuko Ideta (poznanej w 1962 roku) w 1977 roku. Malarz osiadł w nim po 16 latach zarządzania Villą Médicis w Rzymie, gdzie na stanowisko dyrektora mianował go André Malraux, francuski legendarny minister kultury z czasów generała de Gaulla. Dom malarza czyli Grand Chalet w Rossinière stał się słynny jeszcze za jego życia. Było tak zarówno ze względu na sam budynek, zawierający 47 pomieszczeń mieszkalnych na 3000 m², jak również ze względu na ekskluzywność osób, które mogły składać wizyty w „domowym zaciszu” Balthusa. Do osób, które zaliczały się do przyjaciół artysty pod koniec życia należał wybitny francuski fotograf Henri Cartier-Bresson. To właśnie jego zdjęcia wykonane w 1990 roku i przedstawiające malarza w otoczeniu żony Setsuko oraz siedemnastoletniej podówczas córki Harumi „zamykają” i przede wszystkim znakomicie kompletują wystawę.

Wystawa jest jedyną manifestacją poświęconą Balthusowi odbywającą się w tym roku. Najprawdopodobniej związane jest to z faktem, iż zmarły ponad siedem lat temu malarz należał do stałych bywalców Fundacji Pierre-Gianadda, a sam założyciel fundacji – Léonard Gianadda – zalicza się również do członków Fundacji Balthusa. Dodatkowo wpółpracę ułatwia fakt, że legendarny dom artysty, w którym do dnia dzisiejszego zamieszkuje jego wdowa Setsuko – znajduje się w linii prostej bardzo blisko Martigny. Jedynie obecność stromych wierzchołków Alp zmusza do „okrężnej” drogi potencjalnych chętnych zwiedzenia pracowni, w której artysta tworzył przez ostatnie 24 lata życia. Pomimo, że Balthus był właścicielem okazałego domu - to jego atelier znajdowało się na zewnątrz w innym budynku. W sposób jak najbardziej zaskakujący malarz zaadoptował na potrzeby pracowni część budynku prawdziwej solidnej stodoły, która „pod panowaniem” hrabiego (na którego zwykł był kreować się artysta) została najprawdopodobniej lekko przebudowana i uzyskała małe okna. Sama pracownia nie odbiega wielkością od przeciętnej pracowni średnio-zamożnego współczesnego artysty i prawdę powiedziawszy wielu artystów narzekających na brak powodzenia ... pracuje w znacznie lepszych warunkach, niż te, do których najwyraźniej był przyzwyczajony Balthus. Konkluzja nasuwa się natychmiast : znakomite warunki do pracy niekoniecznie są nieodzownym elementem do zrobienia kariery... Wystrój domu artysty odbija eklektyczność jego zainteresowań. W oczywisty sposób wielokrotnie pojawia się w różny sposób figura kota – ulubionego zwierzęcia artysty, obecnego zarówno w jego autoportretach, scenach rodzajowych jak i portretach lub niekiedy bulwersujących przedstawieniach dorastających dziewcząt. Przewijają się również elementy kojarzące się z krajami pochodzenia jego rodziców : Białorusią i Polską – ta ostatnia zgodnie ze słowami jego najstarszego syna Stanislasa (ur. 1942) była jego „mitologiczną ojczyzną”. Zainteresowania Polską w przypadku Balthusa ograniczało się głównie do kultywowania wyobrażeń o tym kraju w sferze wyobraźni... O ile Setsuko – wdowa po malarzu – twierdzi, że jej mąż przez całe życie powtarzał, że „w duszy jest polskim rycerzem” – o tyle jego syn Stanislas nie omieszkuje przekazać informację, że Balthus wraz z całą rodziną odwiedził Polskę jeden, jedyny raz w roku 1999 czyli na półtora roku przed śmiercią. Celem jego podróży był przede wszystkim Wrocław – miasto urodzenia Victora Ericha Klossowkiego, ojca Balthusa i Pierre’a Klossowskiego, historyka sztuki wywodzącego się z polskiej szlachty oraz Warszawa. Elementem być może najbardziej polskim w całym domu są czerwone maki kwitnące w ogrodzie i suszone wianki z kwiatów zawieszone na ścianach licznych korytarzy. Dom artysty bywa udostępniany zwiedzającym raz do roku w czasie dni de Patrimone (czyli tzw. Dziedzictwa narodowego).

Matką wybitnie uzdolnionych chłopców była Baladine (pseudonim nadany przez przyjaciół) czyli Elisabeth Dorothea Spiro, dziecko ortodoksyjnej rodziny żydowskiej spod Mińska, malarka pozostająca pod silnym wpływem malartwa Pierre’a Bonnarda. Obydwoje rodzice ze względu na zabory polskie posiadali obywatelstwo niemieckie – w dniu dzisiejszym wprowadza to w zakłopotanie co mniej wnikliwych historyków i krytyków sztuki, natomiast dawniej miało to dużo dramatyczniejsze skutki dla rodziny. Po wybuchu I Wojny Światowej Klossowscy byli zmuszeni opuścić Francję i zamieszkać w Berlinie. Trudno ocenić na ile wpłynęło to na osłabienie więzi między rodzicami, którzy w 1917 roku (Pierre miał 13, a Balthus 9 lat) rozstali się. Piękna Baladine nie pozostała sama zbyt długo. Zakochał się w niej poeta niemiecki Rainer Maria Rilke i chłopcy wraz z matką spędzali regularnie u niego wakacje w jego posiadłości w Szwajcarii. To on zachęcił młodego Balthusa do wykonania serii czterdziestu rysunków opowiadających historię kota Mitsou. Książeczka została wydana dzięki staraniom przyjaciela matki w 1921 roku, który zresztą nie omieszkał napisać do niej wstęp. Podobnie zresztą Rilke zajmował się starszym Pierre’m, który dzięki jego wstawiennictwu został osobistym sekretarzem André Gide’a w wieku lat 19.

Rilke, Gide, Bonnard to tylko niektóre nazwiska z plejady słynnych pisarzy, myślicieli czy malarzy, którzy przewijali się przez dom Baladine – stając się gwarancją mało stereotypowej kultury chłopców, przekazując im wyjątkowy bagaż na progu dorosłego życia. O ile Pierre Klossowski stał się znany zwłaszcza jako znakomity tłumacz, nietuzinkowy myśliciel i dopiero w następnej kolejności malarz i rysownik erotycznych, prowokacyjnych rysunków – o tyle Balthus znany jest przede wszystkim jako malarz o niebanalnych zainteresowaniach literackich. Uważany jest z jednego z najbardziej enigmatycznych twórców XX wieku. Jego pierwszą pasją było chyba malarstwo Quatrocenta. Pierwszy pobyt we Włoszech Balthusa upłynął mu na kopiowaniu Pierre’a de la Francesca oraz Masaccia. Po powrocie do Paryża spędzał godziny w Luwrze, kopiując głównie Poussina. To zamiłowanie do klasycznego rzemiosła nie opuściło go do końca życia. I jeśli wierzyć Jean Clair’owi, wieloletniemu dyrektorowi Muzeum Picassa w Paryżu i komisarzowi jego wystawy w Fundacji Pierre-Gianadda – w większości obrazów Balthusa z lat 30. oraz 40. ubiegłego wieku znajdują się „zapożyczenia” z obrazów głównie mistrzów włoskich, ale francuscy też nie budzili pogardy nietypowego twórcy.

Malarz, który z niechęcią odnosił się do biografii, zwykł mawiać : „Dlaczego chcecie, żebym wyrażał się za pośrednictwem słów, niejasnych i mało precyzyjnych – to co moje malarstwo przekazuje dużo lepiej? Aby znać malarza, wystarczy oglądać jego płótna. Obraz raz skończony, nie mam nic do dorzucenia.” W rzeczywistości obrazy Balthusa są dosyć trudne do rozszyfrowania. Z pewnością kolejno zdradzają jego facynacje : jak miłość do malarstwa starych mistrzów, fascynacja ciałem młodej dziewczyny, nieświadomej jeszcze swojej cielesności (16-letni Balthus po raz pierwszy w swoim życiu zakochał się w 12-letniej Antoinette de Watteville, przyszłej żonie i matce jego dwóch synów i rzekomo pierwsza miłość na całe życie określiła jego przyszłe zainteresowania erotyczne). Są również obecne w obrazach malarza fascynacja pejzażem, martwą naturą i nieustannie pojawiająca się figura kota odzwierciedla jego ujawnioną już w dzieciństwie miłość do tego zwierzęcia.

Na wystawie zaprezentowano dwa obrazy uważane za najważniejsze w twórczości artysty : Ulicę z 1933 roku wypożyczoną przez Museum of Modern Art w Nowym Jorku oraz Pasaż Saint André z 1954 roku wypożyczony z kolekcji prywatnej. Przepełnione symbolami nawiązującymi głównie do malarstwa włoskiego, są przedstawieniami tej samej paryskiej uliczki w dzielnicy Marais. Po raz pierwszy w historii udało się je zaprezentować razem na tej samej wystawie. „Rarytasem” jest najprawdopodobniej niedawno odkryty obraz Legenda Świętego Krzyża : Wizyta Królowej Saba u Salomona, królowa i jej dworki. Ten niewielkich rozmiarów obraz o bardzo długim tytule pochodzi z roku 1926 czyli namalował go 18-letni młodzieniec. Wykonany jest w manierze żywcem kojarzącej się z wczesnymi obrazami Pierro de la Francesca. Właścicielem tego po raz pierwszy zaprezentowanego publicznie płótna jest Fondazione Lions Club w Lugano.

Oprócz obrazów Balthusa oraz fotografii jego i jego rodziny na wystawie zaprezentowano również rysunki jego autorstwa. Pokazano wszystkie 40 plansz wykonanych do Mitsou w 1919 roku oraz szereg szkiców, wykonanych szybką, nerwową kreską zdradzającą duży zmysł obserwacji. Kontrast między pośpiesznymi, bardzo szkicowymi, a niemniej trafnymi rysunkami a obrazami wypracowanymi w najmniejszych szczegółach jest ogromny, do tego stopnia, że można zadawać sobie pytanie czy aby rzeczywiście wyszły spod tej samej ręki i czy rzeczywiście kryje się za nimi ten sam umysł? Ale być może jest to przede wszystkim jeszcze jeden namacalny dowód na to jak bardzo należy unikać zbyt pochopnych ocen w sztuce, gdyż nawet najbardziej wierni swoim przyzwyczajeniom twórcy lubią sprawiać nam niespodzianki?

 
GALERIA OBRAZÓW
 
http://www.dailymotion.pl/video/x8fnsq_emission-sur-balthazar-klossowski-d_webcam



NOTA BIOGRAFICZNA

Zobacz film

http://www.dailymotion.pl/video/x8fnsq_emission-sur-balthazar-klossowski-d_webcam



Balthus, przyjaciel klasyków i rebeliantów – Rainera Marii Rilkego, Bonnarda, Alberta Camusa, Picassa, Braque’a i Davida Bowiego. Szczególnie uwielbiany przez surrealistów. Tworzył i wystawiał z największymi modernistami. Sam był jednak jakby z innej epoki, interesowały go zupełnie niedzisiejsze problemy, niedzisiejsi malarze – Giotto di Bondone, Simone Martini, Vermeer van Delft.


1908 – Balthazar Klossowski de Rola urodził się 29 lutego w Paryżu.
1924 – 1925 – Podróż do Włoch – Florencja, Siena, Arezzo. Kopiuje freski Piero della Francesca z cyklu „Legendy Świętego Krzyża”, kopiuje „Echo i Narcyza” Poussina.
1929 – 1939 – Po odbyciu służby wojskowej w Maroku osiada w Paryżu. Pracuje nad ilustracjami do „Wichrowych wzgórz” Emily Brontë, portrety Deraina i Miro. Projektuje kostiumy do sztuk Artauda.
1934 – pierwsza wystawa w galerii Pierre, związanej z surrealizmem.
1938 – Dzięki zainteresowaniu amerykańskiego kolekcjonera J. Thrall Soby wystawia w Pierre Matisse Gallery w Nowym Jorku. Jego płótna trafiają do amerykańskich kolekcji prywatnych.
1939 – Po demobilizacji osiada w Champrovent w Sabaudii.
1943 – 1945 – Przenosi się do Szwajcarii.
1943 – Wystawa w galerii Moos w Genewie.
1946 – 1953 – Po powrocie do Paryża wystawia obrazy w galerii Wildenstein. Projektuje kostiumy do „Cosi fan tutte” Mozarta.
1949 – Wystawa w Pierre Marisse Gallery.
1954 – 1961 – Przenosi się do zamku Chassy.
Przyjaźni się z Dianą i Georgesem Bataillem. Maluje pejzaże i martwe natury.
1956 – Wystawa w Pierre Matisse Gallery i galerii Wildenstein.
1961 – 1977 – Zostaje dyrektorem Akademii Francuskiej w Rzymie, z nominacji Andrč Malraux, ówczesnego ministra kultury. Mieszka w siedzibie akademii Villi Medici.
1968 – Wystawa w londyńskiej Tate Gallery.
1978 – Powraca do Paryża. Bierze udział w kilku wystawach zbiorowych.
1983 – Wystawa retrospektywna w Centre Pompidou w Paryżu.
1984 – Wystawa retrospektywna w Metropolitan Museum w Nowym Jorku.
18 lutego 2001 – umiera w Rossiniere w Szwajcarii. 







Balthus



Balthazar Klossowski de Rola (February 29, 1908 in Paris – February 18, 2001) was an esteemed Polish/French modern artist whose work was ultimately anti-modern.

Balthus - Life and work

In his formative years his art was sponsored by Rainer Maria Rilke, Pierre Bonnard and Henri Matisse. His father, Erich Klossowski, a noted art historian (he wrote a monograph on Daumier), and his mother Elisabeth Dorothea Spiro (known as Baladine Klossowska) were part of cultural elite in Paris. Balthus' older brother, Pierre Klossowski, was a philosopher influenced by Marquis de Sade writings. Jean Cocteau, who was friend of the Klossowskis, found some inspiration for his novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929) on his visits to the family.

As he matured in the early 1930s, Balthus' paintings often depicted pubescent young girls in erotic and voyeuristic poses. One of his most notorious works was The Guitar Lesson (1934), which caused controversy in Paris due to its depiction of a sexually explicit lesbian scene featuring a young girl and her teacher.

In 1937 he married Antoinette de Watteville, whom he met as early as in 1924. She was the model for a series of portraits.

Early on his work was admired by writers and fellow painters, especially by André Breton and Pablo Picasso. His circle of friends in Paris included the novelist Pierre-Jean Jouve, the photographers Josef Breitenbach and Man Ray, Antonin Artaud, and the painters André Derain, Joan Miro and Alberto Giacometti (one of the most faithful of his friends). In 1948, another friend, Albert Camus, asked him to design the sets and costumes for his play L'Etat de Siège (The State of Siege, directed by Jean-Louis Barrault).

Balthus spent most of his life in France, and as international fame grew he cultivated himself and his past as an enigma. In 1953 he moved into the Chateau de Chassy, were he finished his masterpieces 'The Room' (1952, influenced by Pierre Klossowski's novels) and 'The Street' (1954). In 1964 he moved to Rome, were he presided over Villa de Medici director of the French Academy in Rome, and made friends with the filmmaker Frederico Fellini and the painter Renato Guttuso.

In 1977 he moved to Rossinière, Switzerland. That he had a second, Japanese wife Setsuko thirty-five years his junior simply added to the air of mystery around him (he met her in Japan, during a diplomatic mission initiated by André Malraux). The photographers and friends Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martine Franck (Cartier-Bresson's wife), both portrayed the painter and his wife and their daughter Harumi in his Grand Chalet in Rossinière in 1999.

Balthus was the only living artist who had his artwork in the Louvre's collection (it came from Picasso's private collection when it was donated to that museum).

Prime Ministers and rock stars alike attended the funeral of Balthus. Bono, lead-singer of U2, sang for the hundreds of mourners at the funeral. Biographers rushed into print shortly after his death, and their work has since been severely and widely criticised as being unreasonable and confused.

Balthus - Influence and legacy

The work of Balthus shows numerous influences, including Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Poussin, Jean Etienne Liotard, Joseph Reinhardt, Géricault, Ingres, Goya, Courbet, Felix Vallotton and Paul Cezanne. His favourite composer was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (he designed the stage for one of the composer's operas, Così fan tutte, in Aix-en-Provence, together with Adolphe Mouron Cassandre).

His work influenced several artists, among them the filmmaker Jacques Rivette of the French New Wave. His film Hurlevent (1985) was inspired by Balthus' drawings made at the beginning of the 1930s. As his says in an interview with Valerie Hazette: "Seeing as he's a bit of an eccentric and all that, I am very fond of Balthus (...) I was struck by the fact that Balthus enormously simplified the costumes and stripped away the imagery trappings (...)".

Another artist influenced by Balthus is the photographer Duane Michals.

The novel Hannibal by Thomas Harris refers to the fictional Hannibal Lecter as a cousin of Balthus.

Other related archives

1908, 2001, Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, Aix-en-Provence, Albert Camus, Alberto Giacometti, André Breton, André Derain, André Malraux, Antonin Artaud, Bono, Così fan tutte, Courbet, Daumier, Duane Michals, Erich Klossowski, February 18, February 29, Felix Vallotton, France, Frederico Fellini, French, French Academy in Rome, French New Wave, Goya, Géricault, Hannibal, Hannibal Lecter, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Henri Matisse, Ingres, Jacques Rivette, Japanese, Jean Cocteau, Jean Etienne Liotard, Jean-Louis Barrault, Joan Miro, Les Enfants Terribles, Louvre, Man Ray, Marquis de Sade, Martine Franck, Masaccio, Pablo Picasso, Paris, Paul Cezanne, Picasso, Piero della Francesca, Pierre Bonnard, Pierre Klossowski, Polish, Poussin, Prime Ministers, Rainer Maria Rilke, Renato Guttuso, Rome, Rossinière, Switzerland, Thomas Harris, U2, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, modern artist



Adapted from the Wikipedia article "Balthus", under the G.N U Free Docmentation License.

Please also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki



Napisane przez: torlin | 04/09/2008


"Doszedłem do wniosku, że mój blog wypadł jak wóz z kolein, że odszedłem od swojego głównego celu prezentowania sztuki, która mi się podoba. Ach, gdzież są czasy szkła Tiffany’ego, rysunków Kostrzewskiego czy zapomnianego impresjonisty. I oto nadarzyła się okazja, niedawno minęła setna rocznica urodzin Balthazara Klossowskiego de Rola, zwanego popularnie Balthusem, a artysta ten wpasowuje mi się doskonale również w cykl o „prawdziwych Polakach”. Balthus był synem hrabiego Eryka Kłossowskiego herbu Rola i Elżbiety Doroty Spiro, pochodzenia żydowsko – rosyjskiego, zwaną Baladine, ale olbrzymi wpływ na rozwój intelektualny młodego Balthusa miał Rainer Maria Rilke, ukochany matki po jej rozwodzie z Kłossowskim. Balthus nie znał języka polskiego, czym rozczarował Jana Pawła II podczas audiencji w Watykanie, ale do końca życia myślał o Polsce i był dumny z kraju swojego pochodzenia. W naszym kraju był jeden jedyny raz, w 1998 roku, jak miał 90 lat, uczestniczył w uroczystości nadania mu doktoratu honoris causa przez Akademię Sztuk Pięknych we Wrocławiu. Zamierzał wziąć ślub na Jasnej Górze ze swą młodszą o 30 lat japońską żoną Setsuko, ale przeszkodziła mu w tym śmierć. Miał z nią córkę Harumi. O twórczości artysty, którego obrazy do niedawna uzyskiwały najwyższe spośród żyjących malarzy ceny, pisali najwięksi humaniści i artyści minionego wieku, zwykle z nim zaprzyjaźnieni – Rainer Maria Rilke, Albert Camus, Antonin Artaud, Federico Fellini, John Rewald czy Jean Starobinsky.

Dla mnie malarstwo Balthusa składa się z trzech części, pierwszą z nich jest miejskie malarstwo pejzażowe, bliskie surrealizmowi. Jego najbardziej umiłowanym obrazem z tego okresu twórczości jest „Le Passage du Commerce – Saint – André” z 1952 roku,

Obraz pt.: "Anegdota"

http://torlin.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/balthus_saint-andre.jpg?w=500&h=443


Trzymetrowy obraz przedstawia tytułowy pasaż, paryską uliczkę odchodzącą od Placu Odéon, gdzie wrzało w czasie Rewolucji Francuskiej. Balthus miał pracownię niedaleko, na Cour de Rohan i zawsze ten pasaż robił na nim wielkie wrażenie. Na ścianie kamienicy u wylotu pasażu umieścił złoty klucz symbolizujący warsztat ślusarski produkujący gilotyny. To właśnie w tym pasażu pierwszy raz ją przetestowano, ścinając głowę owieczki (a na obrazie widzimy kudłatego pieska – baranka). Ciekawostką jest fakt, że na obrazie widać samego mistrza (idzie z bagietką), na trotuarze po prawej stronie siedzi jego brat Pierre, a starsza pani z laseczką to ich matka Baladine.


Całość czytaj na:

http://torlin.wordpress.com/2008/09/04/balthus/


ZOBACZ GALERIE:

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/balthus.html

http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/search/citi/artist_id:129
WIĘCEJ INFORMACJI NA STRONACH:


http://unatemporadaenelinfierno.net/2008/02/28/balthus-contra-la-tirania-de-las-cosas-dominantes/

http://unatemporadaenelinfierno.net/2007/04/04/klossowski-erotismo-y-libertinaje-teologico/

http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/balthus.html

http://hirshhorn.si.edu/search.asp?search=&objNumber=&objNumberExact=true&artists=Balthus&withImage=true&collection_search_advanced=GO


http://hirshhorn.si.edu/dynamic/collection_images/full/86.232.jpg

http://hirshhorn.si.edu/dynamic/collection_images/full/66.348.jpg

http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/150000233

http://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/ma/original/DT4446.jpg

http://www.metmuseum.org/search-results?y=0&x=0&ft=Balthus&rpp=10&pg=2
 





BALTHUS
FRENCH ARTIST WAS KNOWN FOR PAINTINGS
OF ADOLESCENT GIRLS OBITUARIES

February 19, 2001| CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT | TIMES ART CRITIC



Count Balthazar Klossowski de Rola, the reclusive French painter and stage designer known by the single name, Balthus, died Sunday in the Swiss mountain village of Rossiniere. He was 92, although his birth on Feb. 29 during a leap year often led him to insist he was still just a teenager.

Balthus was among the last of the School of Paris painters who dominated Western art before World War II. Although portraits and landscapes were among his many subjects, his signature works focused on the sexual awakening of adolescent girls, who were often depicted in isolation in sparsely furnished rooms assuming poses that wavered between naive innocence and erotic suggestiveness.

Throughout Balthus' long career, critics remained divided over these paintings. Do they represent a calculated sensationalism, built on an established Surrealist desire to shock bourgeois sensibilities? Or, are they a trenchant acknowledgment of psychological complexity formed in youth, appropriate to an age preoccupied with Freudian analysis of sexuality?

One who was convinced of Balthus' significance and sincerity as an artist was his friend, Pablo Picasso, who once owned Balthus' 1937 canvas "The Children" (now in the collection of the Louvre Museum). "Balthus is so much better than all these young artists who do nothing but copy me," Picasso declared. "He is a real painter."

The Klossowski family immigrated to France from East Prussia in the mid-19th century. Balthus' father, Eric, was a minor artist loosely associated with the Impressionists, but he developed into an important critic and art historian whose monograph on the devastating French caricaturist Honore Daumier became a standard text. His mother, Elizabeth Spiro, went by the name Baladine and also had literary interests; she was an influential muse to the Austrian lyric poet Rainer Maria Rilke. His brother, Pierre, became a painter and writer.

When the Parisian-born Balthus was 6, his family moved to Switzerland, living principally in Berne and Geneva but making extended excursions to England. His parents encouraged his youthful interests in drawing and painting, but the boy had no formal training in art. In a home where family friends and regular guests included such prominent writers and painters as Rilke, Andre Gide, Pierre Bonnard, Andre Derain and Edouard Vuillard, being an artist simply seemed an obvious path.

Balthus' first published drawings were made when he was 11. He showed a series of sketches depicting his lost cat to Rilke, who decided to write an accompanying text and had the book published under the title, "Mitsou" (1921). The coupling of literary and artistic interests throughout Balthus' childhood and adolescence certainly influenced his later commitment to figurative painting with narrative implications, which were seen by many critics, curators and collectors as being out of step with the most adventurous currents of Modern art.

In 1924, the 16-year-old Balthus returned to Paris with the intention of becoming an artist, but he rejected the common practice of enrolling in a painting academy. Instead, he learned by copying Old Master paintings in the Louvre, especially the classically inspired pictures of Poussin. Accompanied by Gide, he traveled to Italy, where he made a special study of the provincial Tuscan Renaissance painter Piero della Francesca, whose importance to Balthus' mature work is readily apparent. Piero's use of a clear geometric framework leavened by a sensuous understanding of color, scale and pattern would become a linchpin for Balthus' work.

Balthus' first one-man show was held in Paris in 1934 at the Galerie Pierre, an important showcase for Surrealist art. His association with the gallery contributed to disputes over whether his frequently dreamy, memory-laden imagery was authentically Surrealist.

The show, however, was enthusiastically received by critic and playwright Antonin Artaud, whose own writing invoked abject principles of temptation and revulsion excluded in daily life and culture. The most famous picture from the exhibition is "The Street," now in the collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art. The large canvas shows a variety of figures who seem momentarily suspended in time while passing through an ordinary Parisian street, not unlike the Cour de Rohan near the Odeon, where Balthus found a studio. The central figure of a worker is shown carrying a plank of lumber on his shoulder, which enigmatically obliterates his face. A boy to his right seems to be marching in a trance, like a mechanical doll. At left, a young girl struggles against the apparently unwelcome advances of a Peter Lorre-like man. (The 1931 German film "M," in which Lorre played a psychopathic child-murderer, had created a sensation.)


 
AN INTERVIEW WITH STANISLAS KLOSSOWSKI DE ROLA
JOSEPH CAEZZA

AN INTERVIEW WITH A TRUE SON OF HERMES
JOSEPH CAEZZA

"Stanislas Klossowski de Rola", the name invokes awe among all students of alchemical wisdom. A true son of Hermes, he carries himself with the aristocratic grace and charming innocence of Antoine de Saint Exupery's "Little Prince". He is the son of Count Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, acclaimed by some as one of the greatest living painters of this century. Stanislas inspired a reevaluation of the alchemical tradition with his two books, Alchemy :The Secret Art and The Golden Game. He was a close personal friend to Eugene Caneliet, the direct disciple of the legendary adept, Fulcanelli. Stanislas lived for many years in Sri Lanka and was personally acquainted with the renowned authority on Eastern wisdom, Lama Anagarika Govinda. More recently he has been involved with the motion picture industry and lives with his son in Malibu, California. During the recent Bohemian Golden Salamander tour of September 1998, the hermeticist, Dan Kenney, acted as my agent and at great personal sacrifice followed Stanislas from Prague to a hunting lodge just outside the ancient mining village of Kutna Hora. There he engaged this revered author with my questions.

D.K./J.C. As the son of the famous painter, Balthus (Count Balthasar Klossowski de Rola), do you still stand in your father's shadow or have you carved out your own piece of space?
S.K.R. Well it depends: on the one hand all children of famous people are invariably forced to deal with this problem and with the inevitable, often unfavorable, comparisons made by others between themselves and their forbears. Also, there are people whose interest in one stems only from who one's father is. But, on the other hand, I have benefitted tremendously from being my father's son. He is truly an exceptional human being who has instilled in me standards of the highest order. Then again I very much have gone my own eccentric way to live my own life. Still, he does cast a long shadow...

D.K./J.C. Medieval painters often elaborated their own pigments out of metallic ores. Examples include Naples Yellow (lead antimoniate Pb3(SbO4)2), Vermillion (cinnabar HgS) and Orpiment (yellow arsenic sulfide As2S3). Could you explain the role of the artist's amplified effort of perception required for hermetic insight and describe the role of color in alchemical work?
S.K.R. I don't know what you mean exactly by the "artist's amplified effort of perception required for hermetic insight..." By "Artist" I presume you mean an Alchemist. If so, provided one prosecutes one's research work in the correct fashion, hermetic insights do not require amplified efforts of perception, but diligent study of the best books, including prayer and meditation, which in turn gives birth to these mysterious insights that strike like lightning...However, unless you seize them, and make them fast, they are very fugitive. In other words truths that seem unforgettable are indeed forgotten.
The role of color is well known in the alchemical work. There are three basic colors. Everybody knows that... The Nigredo, or black, being the first sign of success, the second sign comes with Whiteness or Albedo, and the final Perfection, Tyrian Color or Rubedo, is when the final fixity is attained. There are other colors of importance such as green which symbolizes the living state, the life force. Alchemists oppose greenness, a life to death, to suggest that metals that are taken from the mine and can be bought from a shop are dead metals and have to be reincruded, in other words, brought back to life. That's the green and there are a number of other colors which are the fugitive colors, symbolized by the peacock's tail. They appear and they disappear. The best summary in English, of the succession of colors is in an exposition upon Ripley's Vision by Philalethes which I included in ALCHEMY: THE SECRET ART.

D.K./J.C. Cyliani's classic Hermes Unveiled contains a masterful riddle. At the threshold to the temple, the celestial nymph explains that he can accomplish nothing without solving it: "From One, By One, Which Is Only One Are Made Three, From Three, Two, And From Two, One." This seems to be a reference to the Golden Mean proportion, often designated by the Greek letter phi. This living function defines how all things grow in Nature. What has "growth" got to do with the Great Work of Alchemy? How does it relate to practical procedures?
S.K.R. The role of growth, as it is phrased, is an obvious one. It's parallel is a wedding of two opposite natures, they have a child, the child must be fed and grows. In that sense, the role of growth is an analogical one. Art is helping Nature to achieve its stated aim. Everything grows.
The process itself is about growth. It's about growing one thing from another thing. In other words, the Stone of the Philosophers must become the Philosopher's Stone. So it's a journey from the One to the One. You have to identify the first One, which is the Alpha, and the Omega is the Philosopher's Stone.

D.K/J.C. Cyliani's aeronautical voyage seems reminiscent of Peter Pan's journey to NeverNever Land in the recent movie, " Hook". It also calls to mind a recently published account of a yogi, Swami Satyeswarananda Giri, in his biographical, Babaji, The Divine Himalyan Yogi. This yogi spent 12 years doing intense sadhana in the Himalyan mountains, after which he was approached by a semi-divine saint who took him on a similar aerial voyage. This same account describes how, at one point, this semi-divine saint momentarily transformed himself into a woman and then back into a man. It recalls Canseliet's description of a similar episode with Fulcanelli in Spain. Is the actual historic reality of these accounts as significant as their archetypal symbolic value?
S.K.R. Well, I can only really talk about the Fulcanelli episode because Canseliet has told me a lot about it. Canseliet explained how, a long time after the philosophical death of his master, he was invited to go to Spain and there he was taken to a mysterious estate where people walked about dressed in ancient costumes. The story is somewhat reminiscent -although he wasn't aware of it for a long time, - of the famous story of two ladies who were in Versailles and saw all sorts of 18th century happenings. Canseliet was coming out of this lab that he had been given to work in and he had his braces hanging off his shirt and shoulders, his shirt was untucked, he was sort of scruffy and he felt bad because suddenly, around the corner, came this Queen who was accompanied by a couple of women. They were dressed in magnificent costumes. There had been children playing, also dressed in these ancient costumes, and he thought "Oh, how marvelous that these kids are looking after these clothes so well." And as the Queen went by and he was sort of frozen on the spot, she turned her head and smiled. He was shocked to recognize his Master. So how that applies is that: Fulcanelli, at that stage, was the incarnation of Lady Alchemia herself. That's the best interpretation of that. Now, again, it is up to each person to whom these things occur to give whatever "spin" they want on such an incident.

D.K./J.C. Jean-Julien Champagne, Pierre Dujols and Rene Schwaller de Lubicz hold nominations as candidates for the identity of the personage behind the Fulcanelli myth. Schwaller appears as a leading contender because of the striking parallels between his work on the Egyptian temple at Luxor which bears cathedral symbolism and the material presented in Fulcanelli's The Mystery of the Cathedrals. Could you please comment on this?
S.K.R. I certainly can: My first reaction is to exclaim that all these theories are quite ludicrous and are not convincing, either. But you must understand that because of my friendship with Canseliet I witnessed his sadness and indignation when we discussed Champagne's name in that connection. I have already told Kenneth Rayner Johnson that it was absolute nonsense. However at the beginning of this year I read AL-KEMI: A MEMOIR, HERMETIC, OCCULT, POLITICAL and PRIVATE ASPECTS OF R.A. SCHWALLER de LUBICZ by Andre Vandenbroeck. This work quotes Schwaller giving a lot of details about Fulcanelli which relate to Champagne. Nevertheless something is wrong, it just does not quite hang together. In FULCANELLI DEVOILE by Genevieve Dubois she reproduces a fascinating letter precisely written by Canseliet to Schwaller de Lubicz (dated December 1932), wherein he writes: "It is possible that my name on the back of the envelope may not be absolutely unknown to you, as closely connected to Mr. Champagne in the last years of his life, you might have heard of me. Since his death, I am pursuing the goal of a seven year collaboration which had us rent two adjoining garrets, 59bis Rue Rochechouart. I had both the luck and the pleasure to receive in the last few days the loan of a most interesting book: ADAM L'HOMME ROUGE and thus to learn what our mutual friend had omitted to tell me that you are the author of this curious and learned work. You are displaying therein a profound knowledge of the subject of primitive androgyny as well as highly philosophical preoccupations, the very ones that Mr Champagne embraced when he returned from Plan de Grasse, (Schwaller's home and laboratory), and which seem to have upset his former conceptions..." Canseliet goes on to describe how they both yielded to this new direction and went back to studying the caput mortem of the first work...Champagne and Schwaller had worked on discovering the secrets of medieval stained glass. They actually elucidated the enigma, pierced the mystery and were able to reproduce it. After nineteen years of work, they managed to discover the great secret. Now Canseliet, in that letter, would not address Schwaller as "Possibly you know who I am, etc. ect." if Schwaller had been Fulcanelli in the first place. Furthermore, Genevieve Dubois suggests that Canseliet himself was the victim of some mystification... She came to the conclusion that Schwaller, Dujols and Champagne were in fact, the authors, a triumvirate -in other words, the works were not the work of one man but of three people together, hidden under the identity of Fulcanelli. This can not be correct because everything Canseliet has told me about the matter refutes that. And what he wrote about Fulcanelli would point out that Fulcanelli was about 80 years old in 1922. So, you can count back and look at the dates of Schwaller, Champagne and Dujols. They don't correspond to anything like that. At any rate, ultimately, does it really matter? The answer is: It doesn't. And today people spend so much time looking at the outer reality and searching for that, instead of studying the Work. People want to know the autobiographical details about people and "pin things down". Well, they can't and it doesn't matter. The hermetic philosopher, at a certain point, transcends his identity and doffs off his ego-mortality, and enters into the Absolute. And the bargain for that is that you totally abandon who you were because it's totally irrelevant. It's like a husk that drops away.

D.K./J.C. When we consider the value of an alchemical tome, for example, The Rosary of the Philosophers, is the text an end in itself or is laboratory work required? Do you have any favorite hermetic tracts that you continuously read?
S.K.R. Good texts are extremely useful and there can be no practice without a sound basis in theory. And the only way to acquire this theory is by diligently reading, reading, rereading again and praying and working. So practice eventually completes all this reading. On the other hand, alchemy goes far beyond theory and practice into a living reality of its own.
The Hermetic Triumph is one of my favorites. Hermes, Sendivogius, Basil Valentine, Bernard Le Trevisan, d'Espagnet, Zachaire -these are the ones I read and reread and Fulcanelli, of course.

D.K./J.C. The Hermetic Triumph, like Paracelsus' Alchemical Catechism, argues against vulgar mercury and gold as ingredients for elaborating the Philosopher's Stone. However, Henri de Lintaut's 1700, L'ami de L'Aurore (Friend of the Dawn), documents the technical details of this practice. When vulgar mercury is incubated with vulgar gold by a competent operator for a certain duration under precise temperature control and astrological influence, it becomes animated and fermentable. It may be a practical possibility, but does it obscure more profound metaphysical principles? Was it the clarification of these principles that motivated the author of the Hermetic Triumph?
S.K.R. He doesn't say that...he doesn't say that, at all. I mean, there is an argument in the War of the Knights which is the first part of the Hermetic Triumph which is in three parts. The interview between the two protagonists which follows is an elucidation upon this treatise. So in that first part gold and mercury are arguing their worth against that of the Stone saying "you're a vile thing, etc. etc".These questions are asked in the Hermetic Triumph. Philalethes brings up what you're mentioning here, but it is a very deceptive way to work. There's a certain process whereby one can take -its not vulgar mercury -but one can take gold and reincrudate it and extract its seed. That process is extremely difficult to do -very interesting, but very, very costly. And the chances of erring are tremendously great. What can happen there is that you loose the whole thing and you'll end up with nothing but scoriae that are absolutely worthless. I've discussed this before with Canseliet at length, but I do not believe that it is a very good idea to deal with vulgar mercury in the first place. And vulgar mercury, by the way can be a reference to the first mercury. So it's a difficult thing because, again, we get into the tremendous semantics of alchemical literature.

D.K./J.C. The recently published Opus Magnum catalogue which chronicles Czech alchemy features never before published illustrations from a Bohemian tract, Symbola Chiroglyphica. Could these illustrations also appropriately accompany the Hermetic Triumph? Do they document the same process?
S.K.R. (Leafing through the catalogue): They are very good, classically based -but the style is rudimentary -but they are very interesting hieroglyphs...with precious indications...Of course, you could say they illustrate the same process since...they deal with exactly the same thing. But could they illustrate the Hermetic Triumph? I don't think so. They're not at all in that kind of style... but, in a way, they could. I mean, it's a Yes and No kind of answer. We're looking at them as we speak. It's hard to know what you mean. "Do they illustrate the same process?" They illustrate the whole process of alchemy... See (pointing to an illustration), the salamander and the pelican...what is very interesting is this (pointing to another)...this sign all over the place -very, very good...that I've never seen...always the orb -it's a very good indication (closing the book). It is a good manuscript to study and the iconography is, although not of high artistic quality, certainly very eloquent.

D.K./J.C. You were personally acquainted with Lama Anagarica Govinda, a towering pinnacle of authority on Eastern wisdom. His introductory forward appears in W.Y. Evans-Wentz's classic TIBETAN BOOK of the DEAD. His FOUNDATIONS of TIBETAN MYSTICISM remains to be an acclaimed source work. All his writings constitute true gems of wisdom. You knew him personally. What was he like? Did his relationship with his wife, Li Gotami, actualize the alchemical concept of the "Soror Mystica"? Could you explain that kind of relationship?
S.K.R. Lama Govinda was, perhaps, the greatest man that I've ever been gifted with meeting. He was a tremendously gentle and delightful man. When I first showed up on his doorstep at his Kesar Devi ashram in Almora, in the Himalayan foothills -which was more like a hermitage than an ashram, he opened the door. I introduced myself, and he said "oh please come in , I know exactly who you are." And he made me sit down in this delightful drawing room and then he pulled out a book by Rilke -but I mean, It was almost instantaneous: he reached up, pulled out this book by Rilke, opened it, put on his glasses and he said "oh yes, de Rola, right?" I mean the whole reference was right there -it was absolutely astonishing. And I felt as if I was a long lost relative, but in the highest sense of the word. I was very naive in those days and he always took time to explain things and show things in the most eloquent manner. He used a lot of visual techniques to teach me things which were very, very useful. He taught me, for instance, when I asked him about the Outside at a very precarious moment, he came out with this beautiful definition and said: "Well, the Outside is the Inside veiled in mystery." That's very nice.
Li Gotami was a Farsi from Bombay. She looked like a silent movie star. She had that Clara Bow kind of look and was dressed in Tibetan cloths. She cut a most charming figure. She was absolutely adorable. She was a Soror Mystica in the sense that she was tremendously supportive of her husband, admired him deeply and was always very discreet and was a source of joy and gaiety in one's life there. But that's all I can say about it right now.

D.K./J.C. You lived for many years in Sri Lanka which, according to popular Tamil myth, is a small surviving land mass of an ancient submerged continent, possibly destroyed by the misuse of alchemical technology. Sri Lanka even today remains the domain of the Hindu divinity, Muraga, a patron of Buddhism as well as the Tamil Siddhar yogic-alchemical tradition. The iconography of Muraga seems reminiscent of the western magnum opus. For example, according to popular myth, Muraga slays two great demons which he transforms respectively into a rooster and a peacock. The rooster, hermetic herald of dawn, adorns his battle flag and the peacock becomes his mount or vehicle. The peacock often appears with a serpent clutched in its talons, implying the fixation of mercury. Muraga brandishes weapons of war in many of his 12 arms which invoke the idea of the hermetic secret fire. His chief weapon, a broad bladed lance, is popularly recognized as the ascending kundalini or transmutative serpent fire. Could all of this be accidental coincidence or a folly of misapplied hermetic interpretation?
S.K.R. There's a French expression which we taught Lubos Antonin today. Its called tremendously "tire par les cheveux", meaning "pulled by the hair". Because in India -or rather Ceylon -the peacock doesn't have at all the same signification as in western occultism. By the way, going back to the last question, one more thing I wanted to say about Lama Govinda, through whom I obtained a certain number of Tibetan initiations, is that thanks to his tremendous knowledge of western esotericism, he was very much instrumental in my turning back towards western esotericism, after a lengthy plunge in Tibetan secret doctrines.
To return to the second question, I don't see any connection -except fortuitous ones in the universal unconscious. Certainly you can read it that way if you want to, there's no harm in it. But that's not necessarily what it means.

D.K./J.C. Could you tell us about your film making projects?
S.K.R. I made a film called The Shining Blood which fell into distribution Hell. It recently again, has drawn attention back to itself by critics who initially disliked it, who couldn't "forget it" after seeing hundreds of films. Hundreds of films later, they've requested to see it again because, they said, they couldn't get it out of their minds. The reason for that is that it attempted to use film-making in a classical fashion of an exoteric story having a completely esoteric content. Therefore, as everything had a secondary meaning -and the color was very meaningful in it and used on purpose in that manner -it was a mystical road movie, based really on the Arthurian legend and on the principle of "Amor Vinci Omnia". Love vanquishes all, -Love with a capital "L", transcendent Love, etc. So its not an easy film because its not an overt art-movie or a strictly action film. But everything in the film is linked in a very thought out way. There is no detail in the film that is insignificant. But perhaps this is not apparent. It hasn't been apparent to everybody on the first showing. On the other hand, people steeped in Castanada and interested in these matters have been utterly fascinated. And there are tremendous devotees of this picture.
I wanted to follow it up with a story which I've written on a sort of modern version of the myth of Venus and Tannheuser which is replete with hermetic imagery and deals with the conflict between the conception of love and desire, with small letters, as opposed to Divine Love and Divine Desire and the despotic rule of love. Again it's a form of initiation story and deals, like The Shining Blood, with the transmutation of consciousness. I have several other projects in different veins. I've adapted Crowley's Moonchild which is also in the pipeline. You know, in Hollywood and elsewhere, projects take forever. My interest in these things is to cast as many bottles into the sea as I can. If I get help to realize any of those, it'll be good, but I'm not setting all my hope on it because I have other duties.

D.K./J.C. What kind of contributions to hermetic understanding can we expect from you in the future?
S.K.R. I have several books I'm preparing, a number of translations, including the forthcoming Hermetic Triumph. I am still hoping to resolve this problem that we've had with Thames and Hudson over my work on the Splendor Solis and to come up with an acceptable compromise for all parties so that the many years invested in this project will come to fruition, otherwise I'll have to do it with another publisher. But I'm hoping to do it with Thames and Hudson. I also wanted to expand and present the material that I've discovered at the Vatican Library in a more complete fashion in a new book on alchemy in general. Furthermore I have a project presenting the iconography of alchemy in the 18th century, especially with the imagery of several manuscripts that are in France and representing some 160 odd pictures or more, and a number of 18th century prints, etc. That's just sort of the tip of the iceberg I'm working actively on. Plus on this trip with my companions, we're constantly discovering new things. Thanks to Michal Pober and Dr. Lobos Antonin(1) we've been able to look at some extraordinary things which, of course, I'd like to include in a forthcoming publication. I should also mention Vladislav Zadrobilek(2) with whom we had a very important meeting at his house, which is full of treasures. He showed me a number of extraordinary source materials which could add extensively to another expanded book on alchemy.

D.K./J.C. Stash, I'd like to thank you not only for making time here for us today but also for your life's work of keeping the dream alive. Thank you, Stash.


(1) Dr Lobos Antonin was interviewed in the Stone, issue No. 27 see also:
http://www.levity.com/alchemy/caezza5.html
(2) Vladislav Zadrobilek was interviewed in the Stone, issue No 28 see also:
http://www.levity.com/alchemy/caezza6.html

This interview was conducted on the evening of September 6th, 1998 at the hunting lodge of Count Sporck, the 18th century father of Czech Masonry, on the outskirts of the ancient mining village of Kutna Hora in the presence Art Kompolt, Lobos Antonin, Michal Pober and his dog Marushka. I must acknowledge profound thanks to Dan Kenney, the hermeticist who engaged Stash with my questions. Grateful thanks also to William Hollister, Dr. Lubos Antonin and Michal Pober for assistance in arranging this interview. Finally a special thanks also to my Atalanta Fugiens, my Soror Mystica, Miss Natalie Collins who serves as my deepest inspiration.

Vladislav Zadrobilek's monumental volume, OPUS MAGNUM: THE BOOK OF SACRED GEOMETRY, ALCHEMY, KABBALA and SECRET SOCIETIES OF BOHEMIA, mentioned in this interview is presently available from the book dealer, Todd Pratum, www.pratum.com or knowledge@pratum.com . It is reviewed at length in his recent catalogue No. 47 and in The Stone, No. 28.

This interview originally appeared in issue No. 32 of THE STONE, May-June 1999.







STAS KLOSSOWSKI





ANITA PALLENBERG, BRIAN JONES & STAS KLOSSOWSKI DE ROLA



 *


 

CONTROVERSIAL BALTHUS DIES AGED 92

By Richard Eden

12:00AM GMT 19 Feb 2001

BALTHUS, the French artist best known for his erotic portrayal of adolescent beauties, died yesterday aged 92.

Considered to be among the world's greatest realist painters, Balthus died at his chalet in the Swiss mountain village of Rossiniere. He had been ill for some time.

Born Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, in Paris in 1908, he was one of the few artists to have had his work displayed at the Louvre during his lifetime. He caused a stir at his first one-man show, in Paris in 1934, with his erotically suggestive Guitar Lesson, a painting of a half-naked girl spreadeagled over the knees of an older woman.

Balthus subsequently tried to distance himself from the painting, admitting that it might be considered mildly pornographic and saying he had painted it to attract attention. He was appointed director of the French Academy in Rome in 1961.

He was friendly with many French writers and intellectuals, including Albert Camus, and was an admirer of Pablo Picasso, who bought his 1937 Les Enfants. Picasso said: "Balthus is so much better than all these young artists who do nothing but copy me. He is a real painter."