Lot 45
  • 45

Balthus

Estimate
500,000 - 700,000 USD
Sold
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Description

  • Balthus
  • Jeune fille debout
  • Signed Bs (lower right)
  • Crayon on elephant paper
  • 37 3/8 by 27 1/2 in.
  • 100 by 70 cm
signed Bs (lower right)
crayon on paper
100 by 70cm.
Executed in 1972.

Provenance

Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris

Pierre & São Schlumberger

Acquired from the Estate of the above by the present owner in 1988

Exhibited

Paris, Galerie Claude Bernard, Balthus: dessins, 1978-79

Berne, Kunstmuseum Bern, Balthus: Zeichnungen, 1994, no. 69, illustrated on the cover of the catalogue

Literature

Jean Leymarie, Balthus, Geneva, 1990, illustrated pl. XIII

Virginie Monnier, Balthus, Catalogue Raisonné de l'œuvre complet, Paris, 1999, no. D1268, illustrated p. 360

Catalogue Note

The central motif in Balthus's oeuvre is the female nude. These pictures explore the sensuous geometry of the body and exploit the tantalizing potential of a bent knee or an exposed thigh. Balthus depicted his models in variations of this salacious pose numerous times, resulting in the most definitive images of his art. The present work was drawn in the Turkish Room at the Villa Medici in Rome, where Balthus served as the director of the French Academy. This same room was the setting for the eponymous painting, now in the collection of the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou.

Balthus stylizes and idealizes the bodies of his young models, frequently returning to motifs that have long enduring significance in Western art. The confident stance of the nude in the present work calls to mind the strong and beautifully delineated standing nudes of Ingres. In his memoirs, the artist wrote the following about his drawings of young women: "There is no more exacting discipline than capturing these variations in faces and poses of my daydreaming young girls. The drawing's caress seeks to rediscover a childlike grace that vanishes so quickly, leaving us with an inconsolable memory. The challenge is to track down the sweetness so that graphite on paper can re-create the fresh oval of a face, a shape close to angels' faces" (Balthus, Vanished Splendors, A Memoir, New York, 2002, p. 65).


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