Balthus

French, 1908–2001

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Balthus

French, 1908–2001

965
Followers
Biography

Balthazar Klossowski, better known as Balthus, bucked the trends of mid-20th century avant-gardism, concentrating on traditional landscapes, still lifes, and portraits in the tradition of the Old Masters. Despite Balthus’s formal conservatism, he became infamous in the 1930s for sexually charged depictions of adolescent girls. Thérèse Dreaming (1930), for instance, features a pre-pubescent girl lost in her own thoughts as she perches one bent leg on a stool, causing her skirt to fall back. Balthus later returned to painting landscapes in the vein of Nicolas Poussin and Gustave Courbet, like The Mountain (1937). Although rendered in a painstakingly realist style, this painting figures among the works—along with The Street (1933)—that prompted some critics to label Balthus as a Surrealist for his depiction of bizarre narrative scenes and dreamlike atmospheres.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
$19m, Christie's, 2019
User
Solo show at a major institution
Centre Pompidou
Group
Group show at a major institution
Guggenheim Museum, and 4 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
frieze, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition
Biography

Balthazar Klossowski, better known as Balthus, bucked the trends of mid-20th century avant-gardism, concentrating on traditional landscapes, still lifes, and portraits in the tradition of the Old Masters. Despite Balthus’s formal conservatism, he became infamous in the 1930s for sexually charged depictions of adolescent girls. Thérèse Dreaming (1930), for instance, features a pre-pubescent girl lost in her own thoughts as she perches one bent leg on a stool, causing her skirt to fall back. Balthus later returned to painting landscapes in the vein of Nicolas Poussin and Gustave Courbet, like The Mountain (1937). Although rendered in a painstakingly realist style, this painting figures among the works—along with The Street (1933)—that prompted some critics to label Balthus as a Surrealist for his depiction of bizarre narrative scenes and dreamlike atmospheres.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
$19m, Christie's, 2019
User
Solo show at a major institution
Centre Pompidou
Group
Group show at a major institution
Guggenheim Museum, and 4 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
frieze, and 1 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition
Shows Featuring Balthus
Articles Featuring Balthus
$59-Million Cézanne Leads Resurgent Impressionist and Modern Art Sale at Christie’s
May 14th, 2019
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