Considered one of the great masters of twentieth-century art, Balthasar Klossowski de Rola -Balthus- is undoubtedly one of the most unique painters of his time. His work, diverse and ambiguous and as admired as rejected, followed a path virtually contrary to the development of the avant-garde. The artist himself explicitly points out some of his influences in the historical-artistic tradition, from Piero della Francesca to Caravaggio, Poussin, Géricault or Courbet. In a more detailed analysis, we can also see references to more modern movements, such as the Neue Sachlichkeit, as well as the resources of the popular illustrations of children’s books of the 19th century. In his detachment from modernity, which could be described as ‘postmodern’, Balthus developed a personal and unique form of avant-garde art, a figurative style far removed from any label. His personal pictorial language, strong forms and very delimited contours, combines the procedures of ancient masters with certain aspects of Surrealism and their images embody a lot of contradictions, mixing tranquility with extreme tension, dream and mystery with reality or eroticism with innocence . The exhibition, curated by Raphaël Bouvier, with the support of Michiko Kono, and Juan Ángel López-Manzanares, and this catalog that accompanies it, brings together key paintings from all stages of his career since the 1920s, shedding light on the diverse forms of intellectual interaction in his paintings between the dimensions of space and time, the relationship between figure and object, as well as the essence of his enigmatic work.
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