Balthus, ‘Les 22 concertos pour piano de Mozart’, 1988, Sylvan Cole Gallery

Messiaen, Olivier.
Les 22 concertos pour piano de Mozart.
Paris: Editions Librairie Seguier, 1988.

First collected edition of Messiaen's detailed accounts of each of Mozart's piano concertos, which had appeared individually in concert programs.

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) was the pre-eminent French composer of the second half of the 20th century.

From a total edition of 100 numbered copies, this is ONE OF ONLY 50 COPIES WITH A LOOSE COLOR LITHOGRAPH BY BALTHUS.

The lithograph, in soft colors, depicts a bay with a smoking volcano in the background.

Balthus (Balthazar Klossowski de Rola, 1908-2001) was one of the great French artists of the 20th century.

In theory, the book is supposed to be signed by Messiaen and the lithograph by Balthus, but in fact neither is signed. The publication of this book was carried out in the most chaotic possible way: Messiaen ended up signing only presentation copies, and Balthus ended up signing only a few impressions of the lithograph.

Large folio (38.5 x 56 cm). Loose as issued in printed wraps and publisher's cloth portfolio / clamshell box.

FINE AND BRIGHT, with no defects.

Publisher: Editions Librairie Seguier

About Balthus

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.

French, 1908-2001, Paris, France, based in Rossinière, Switzerland

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