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5.8.08

Balthus Anniversary Exhibit


Balthus, La Toilette de Kathy, 1936, Centre Pompidou
Balthazar Klossowski, dit Balthus was born 100 years ago this year. The Fondation Gianadda in Martigny, Switzerland, has opened a retrospective of the painter's works. The museum is close to Rossinière, where the painter spent his final years, and Leonardo Gianadda and Balthus were friends. The show brings together 150 works, two-thirds of them paintings, thanks to the remarkable generosity of loaning institutions, both museums and private collectors. Only La montagne and The Guitar Lesson are missing. Philippe Dagen was there to review it (La peinture romanesque de Balthus, August 5) for Le Monde (my translation):
Their absence is made up for by the appearance of rarities from private collections, like a copy of a part of the Légende de la Sainte-Croix, by Piero della Francesca, made in 1926 and unknown until now, and portraits also dating from the artist's early years at the end of the 1920s. These discoveries are not merely instructive. They are the focus of the retrospective. Just as other expositions have done -- Paris in 1983, Lausanne in 1993, the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 2001 -- the interest given to Balthus's different periods has changed in a way that becomes explicit here. After the equal treatment to all of the work, from between the World Wars to the final years, is succeeding a predilection more and more marked for the 1930s and 40s, so that the large Passage du commerce Saint-André, particularly favored in Martigny, appears like a conclusion, after which Balthus invented and discovered less.
You can see a few images of the works in the exhibit here.

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