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Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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London

Balthus
1908 - 2001
JEUNE FEMME À LA ROSE
stamped with the collector's mark AG on the reverse
oil on canvas
91.5 by 73cm.
36 1/8 by 28 3/4 in.
Painted in 1959-60.
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Provenance

Galerie Henriette Gomès, Paris (acquired from the artist)

André Gomès, Paris

Thomas Gibson Fine Art, London

Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1976

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie Henriette Gomès, Balthus, 1983-84

Antibes, Musée Picasso, Le regard d'Henriette, Collection Henriette et André Gomès, 1994, no. 7, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

Hong Kong, Museum of Art; Peking, Palais des Beaux-Arts & Taipei, Fine Art Museum, Balthus, 1995, no. 17

Literature

Xiaosheng Xing, Balthus, Shanghai, 1995, illustrated pl. 51

Virginie Monnier & Jean Clair, Balthus. Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre complet, Paris, 1999, no. P310, illustrated p. 187

Catalogue Note

Jeune femme à la rose is a captivating portrait of a young woman, painted during a period of important stylistic developments in Balthus’s career. In the 1950s, his move to the fourteenth-century Château de Chassy in Morvan inspired some of Balthus’s most poetic paintings, and the new lightness of the palette, dryness of the paint surface and a deliberate lack of depth are all beautifully reflected in the present work. ‘During his Chassy period, when his work was pretty much disregarded by the art critics and his only support came from a few discerning collectors like Henriette Gomès, he worked with unflagging energy, as intent as ever on a slowly achieved, highly wrought perfection’ (Jean Leymarie, Balthus, Geneva, 1982, p. 65).

 

From his adolescence, when he studied Old Masters in the Louvre rather than attend art school and when he painted copies of Piero della Francesca and Masaccio, Balthus was inspired by the art of Italian Old Masters. Indeed the stillness of the present composition, the softness of execution and the fresco-like rendering of the paint surface all reflect the artist’s fascination with early Renaissance art. As Jean Clair has observed: ‘The very matter of the paintings surprises one with its mural quality. It long perpetuated the traditional craft of oil, dominated by dark colours, regulated by the scale of earthen hues lit up with a few dashes of blue, green, or deep red, and neglecting the juxtaposition of pure tones inherent to the impressionist palette. But it gradually gained in luminosity in the fifties and assumed an admirable transparency in the handling of the glaze’ (V. Monnier & J. Claire, op. cit., p. 8).

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

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London