Published by Hatje Cantz. Edited with text by Raphaël Bouvier, Michiko Kono. Text by Olivier Berggruen, Christine Burger, Yves Guignard, Juan Ángel López-Manzanares, Beate Söntgen, Wim Wenders.
"Painting is the passage from the chaos of the emotions to the order of the possible." –Balthus
One of the last great 20th-century masters, Balthus pursued a path that ran exactly contrary to that of the modernist avant-gardes with which he was contemporary. At once quiet and intriguing, his paintings unite colliding contrasts, combining reality and dream, eroticism and innocence, practicality and mystery, the familiar and the uncanny in unique ways.
This volume, published for a retrospective at the Fondation Beyeler, gathers around 50 key paintings from all phases of this legendary artist's career. It commences with the monumental masterpiece Passage du Commerce-Saint-André (1952–54), in which Balthus' intensive study of the dimensions of space and time and their relationship to figure and object is especially apparent.
Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, known as Balthus (1908–2001), was born in Paris to Polish expatriate parents. He was raised in an exceptionally artistic milieu, with visitors to his household including Rilke (who became his mother's lover), André Gide, Jean Cocteau, Maurice Denis and Pierre Bonnard. Balthus was one of the few living artists to be represented in the Louvre, when his painting The Children (1937) was acquired from the private collection of Pablo Picasso.
Published by Steidl. Edited by Nicolas Pages, Benoit Peverelli.
Balthus: The Last Studies is an undisclosed corpus of nearly 2,000 photographs produced during the last ten years of the painter's life. They are the preliminary studies for his last three major paintings. His hands incapacitated by old age, Balthus resorted to the camera as a sort of prosthesis, at once eye, hand and pencil, thus reassuming the mysterious ritual of sketching, for him the one and only way to approach and define the mental image from which the painting's composition would proceed. As a substitute for drawing, these never before seen photographs fully participate in the slow, painstaking practice which had been Balthus' for nearly a century. As such, they give a major insight into the painter's endless quest of beauty. Limited edition of 1,000 copies.
Published by Ediciones Polígrafa. Edited with text by Mieke Bal. Contributions by Constanzo Costantini.
Widely considered one of the greatest, and certainly one of the most mysterious and erotically daring, painters of the twentieth century, Balthus, or Balthazar Klossowski, the French/Polish Count de Rola, died in his adopted Switzerland in 2001 at the age of 93. Descended from Polish aristocracy and raised among important European intellectuals like Rainer Maria Rilke, Andre Gide and Jean Cocteau, Balthus went on to consort and collaborate with many of the most influential members of the Modern avant garde-including Breton, Picasso, Artaud, Giacometti, Camus, Masson and Lacan, to name a fraction. His disturbing and often erotically charged paintings remain enduringly enigmatic.
In this beautifully illustrated collection, Mieke Bal analyzes the way that the paintings emanate both reality and un-reality, creating the unique sense of eeriness at the heart of Balthus' work--which always invites viewers in and repels them at the same time. According to Bal, we are given access to a world that is in no way explained. Thus, the works must labor against assumptions of representation and appropriation, drawing us into a world we know not to exist. In Bal's interpretation, this canny fictionality renders the typical allegations of erotic appropriation naive and censorious. Rather than reduce Balthus' work to the adolescent girls, Bal focuses on additional issues such as color, space, genre and history.