Lot 54
  • 54


1,250,000 - 1,750,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Balthus
  • Nu au mirroir
  • Signed and dated Balthus 1982-1983 (on the reverse)
  • Oil on canvas
  • 64 1/8 by 51 1/8 in.
  • 163 by 130 cm


Galerie Alice Pauli, Lausanne

Private Collection, Europe

Acquired from the above in 1989


Kyoto, Municipal Museum of Art, Balthus, 1984, no. 33

Tokyo, Station Gallery, Balthus, 1993-94, no. 29

Rome, Accademia Valentino, Omaggio a Balthus, 1996-97


Balthus (exhibition catalogue), Musée National d'Arte Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, 1983, no. 234, illustrated p. 381

Koharu Kisaragi, Shûji Takashina, Kunio Motoe, Balthus, Tokyo, 1994, illustrated pl. 60

Claude Roy, Balthus, Paris, 1996, p. 205

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola, Balthus, London and New York,  1996, nos. 95 & 96

Jean Clair, Balthus, Catalogue Raisonné of the Complete Works, Paris, 1999, no. P342, illustrated p. 198

Catalogue Note

In the present work, a young girl long blond hair unconscious of her nudity with gazes intently in a mirror.  Comparing her with the models in Nu de profil , 1973-77) and Nu au foulard (see previous lot), Virginie Monnier has commented that “the comparison between the three pictures shows that the gradual stretching of the body, the lengthening of the legs have given rise to a new aesthetic canon, a sort of archetype of the young girl, to which Balthus’s name is associated” (Jean Clair (ed.), Balthus, New York, 2001, p. 408). While Lucian Freud’s clinical gaze recreates every imperfection of his model’s bodies in his opulent brushwork, Balthus stylizes and idealizes the bodies of his young models,  frequently returning to motifs that have long enduring significance in Western art. In this case it is the motif of the mirror about which the artist has commented: “One of my art’s main motifs is the mirror, invested with the mark of vanity as well as the highest ascendancy. To me, it often gives an echo of the spirit’s profoundest varieties, in the style of Plato, whom I often read at Rossinière. That’s why my young girls often hold them, not only to look at themselves, which would be a mere sign of frivolity – and my young girls are nor shameless Lolitas – but to plumb the furthest depths of their underlying beings. Thus my paintings have many layers of meaning, vanishings in the canvas, so to speak, that duplicate its story, confessing their unfathomability” (Balthus, Vanished Splendors A Memoir, New York, 2001, p. 175).