André Gomès, Paris
Thomas Gibson Fine Art, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1976
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
Virginie Monnier & Jean Clair, Balthus. Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre complet, Paris, 1999, no. P310, illustrated p. 187
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).
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