Balthus (Icon Editions)

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9780064312752: Balthus (Icon Editions)

This book is a thorough overview of the work of Balthus (b. 1908), the elusive painter whose fascinating images of young women were first greatly admired by the Surrealists, and have remained so today. This controversial artist is exceedingly reclusive, and until the last decade rarely gave interviews or allowed himself to be photographed. As a result, both his life and his work have been the subject of much intrigue and speculation. Now, his eldest son, Stanislas Klossowski de Rola, offers privileged insights into the art and thought of this remarkable man.
Here is the widest selection of Balthus's work ever published: landscapes, street scenes, still lifes, and women, from the 1930s to the present, including all his most important paintings of the last ten years. A unique collection of rare photographs presents the young Balthus in his studio, as well as in recent images taken by his friend Henri Cartier-Bresson and other photographers.
The art of Balthus - private, hermetic, evocative, mysterious - lends itself to both deep readings and simple appreciation. The artist himself has always resisted the former, remaining convinced that the paintings should speak for themselves. But, bowing to the demands of a career that has encompassed major retrospective exhibitions at the Tate Gallery, London, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, he has assisted his son in the creation of this book.

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About the Author:

Olivier Zahm is the cofounder and editor in chief of Purple Fashion. He is an accomplished photographer and has curated exhibitions at art institutions worldwide.

Internationally exhibited Japanese painter Setsuko Klossowska de Rola is the widow of Balthus and the honorary president of the Balthus Foundation.

From Booklist:

Balthus is almost as famous for his reclusiveness and reluctance to divulge personal information as for his provocative paintings of young women, a fact his eldest son addresses with some pique in his introduction to this superb volume, the most extensive collection of his father's lustrous and enigmatic work yet published. Klossowski de Rola defends Balthus' insistence on privacy, then offers a few tantalizing biographical facts and a set of striking photographs of the artist. Readers are free, then, to study and interpret Balthus' intriguing, unsettling, brilliantly stylized, richly textured, and strongly composed street scenes, portraits, still lifes, and landscapes. His most famous paintings date from the 1930s and 1940s and feature, in his son's words, "languid adolescent" girls, images Klossowski de Rola insists are "untouchable archetypes of purity," but which are clearly erotic works of the highest order. Balthus, nearly 90 and still working, is a profoundly sensual painter, both in his handling of paint and in his subject matter. What's "pure" and magnificent here is the artist's sense of eroticism and immense talent. Donna Seaman

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