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Balthus

ExhibitionMuseo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Painting, Madrid, Spain
Tuesday February 19, 2019 - Sunday May 26, 2019
Ends in 30 days 5h

In 2019 the museum presents an exhibition on the legendary artist Balthasar Klossowski de Rola (1908-2001), known as Balthus. The exhibition is jointly organised with the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen / Basel, where it will be seen from September 2018 to January 2019.

Balthus The Street, 1933 Oil on canvas, 195 x 240 cm The Museum of Modern Art, New York Legacy of James Thrall Soby, 1979 © Balthus, 2019
Balthus The Street, 1933 Oil on canvas, 195 x 240 cm The Museum of Modern Art, New York Legacy of James Thrall Soby, 1979 © Balthus, 2019
Balthus Thérèse dreaming, 1938 Oil on canvas, 149.9 x 129.5 cm The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 © Balthus, 2019
Balthus Thérèse, 1938 Oil on cardboard mounted on wood. 100.3 x 81.3 cm The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Allan D. Emil, in honor of William S. Lieberman, 1987 © Balthus, 2019
Balthus The Living Room, 1941-1943 Oil on canvas, 114 x 147 cm Minneapolis Institute of Arts The John R. Derlip Fund and The William Hood Dunwoody Fund © Balthus, 2019
Balthus The Golden Days, 1944-1946 Oil on canvas, 148 x 199 cm Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1966 © Balthus, 2019
Balthus (Balthazar Klossowski de Rola) The Card Game, 1948-50 Oil on canvas. 140 x 194 cm © Balthus (Balthazar Klossowski de Rola)
Balthus The Three Sisters, 1955 Oil on canvas, 130 x 196 cm Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection © Balthus, 2019
Balthus The Dream II, 1956-1957 Oil on canvas, 198 x 198 cm Private collection. Courtesy of Connery & Associates © Balthus, 2019
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Considered one of the great masters of 20th-century art, Balthus is undoubtedly one of the most unique painters of his time. His diverse, ambiguous work, which has been equally admired and reviled, pursued a direction that ran completely counter to the rise of the avant-gardes. Balthus himself named some of his influences derived from the tradition of art history, ranging from Piero della Francesca to Caravaggio, Poussin, Géricault and Courbet. A more detailed study of his work also reveals references to more recent movements such as Neue Sachlichkeit and his employment of devices derived from 19th-century children’s book illustrations. In his divergence from modernity, which could now be described as “post-modern”, Balthus evolved a personal and unique type of avant-garde art and a figurative style that defies classification. His particular pictorial language, with its use of solid forms and strongly defined outlines, combines the procedures of the Old Masters with certain aspects of Surrealism. The resulting images involve numerous contradictions, juxtaposing tranquillity with extreme tension; reverie and mystery with reality; and eroticism with innocence.

The exhibition, curated by Raphaël Bouvier with the support of Michiko Kono, and Juan Ángel López-Manzanares, brings together paintings from every period of Balthus’s career from the 1920s onwards. It casts light on aspects such as the different types of intellectual interaction between the dimensions of space and time that exist in his paintings; the relationship between figure and object; and the essence of his enigmatic oeuvre.

Balthus Thérèse dreaming, 1938 Oil on canvas, 149.9 x 129.5 cm The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, 1998 © Balthus, 2019
Balthus Thérèse, 1938 Oil on cardboard mounted on wood. 100.3 x 81.3 cm The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Allan D. Emil, in honor of William S. Lieberman, 1987 © Balthus, 2019
Balthus The Living Room, 1941-1943 Oil on canvas, 114 x 147 cm Minneapolis Institute of Arts The John R. Derlip Fund and The William Hood Dunwoody Fund © Balthus, 2019
Balthus The Golden Days, 1944-1946 Oil on canvas, 148 x 199 cm Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Gift of the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation, 1966 © Balthus, 2019
Balthus (Balthazar Klossowski de Rola) The Card Game, 1948-50 Oil on canvas. 140 x 194 cm © Balthus (Balthazar Klossowski de Rola)
Balthus The Three Sisters, 1955 Oil on canvas, 130 x 196 cm Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection © Balthus, 2019
Balthus The Dream II, 1956-1957 Oil on canvas, 198 x 198 cm Private collection. Courtesy of Connery & Associates © Balthus, 2019

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Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

Paseo del Prado, 8
28014 Madrid
Spain
T +34 91 791 13 70
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PublishedFebruary 7, 2019 at 05:20pm
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