28
28
Balthus
ÉTUDE POUR LE RÊVE II (RECTO); ÉTUDE POUR LA GUITARE (VERSO)
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 353,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
28
Balthus
ÉTUDE POUR LE RÊVE II (RECTO); ÉTUDE POUR LA GUITARE (VERSO)
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 353,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon: Masterworks

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New York

Balthus
1908 - 2001
ÉTUDE POUR LE RÊVE II (RECTO); ÉTUDE POUR LA GUITARE (VERSO)
pencil on paper
21 1/2 by 17 1/8 in.
54.5 by 43.5 cm.
Executed in 1956.
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Provenance

Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist)
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (acquired from the above in November 1978)

Exhibited

New York, E.V. Thaw, Drawings by Balthus, 1963, cat. no. 46
Paris, Galerie Claude Bernard, Balthus: dessins et aquarelles, 1971, cat. no. 66
New York, The Museum of Modern Art; Akron, Akron Art Instititue; Minnesota, University of Minnesota Art Gallery; Iowa, University of Iowa; La Jolla, La Jolla Museum of Art; Middletown, Connecticut, Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University; Winnipeg, University of Manitoba, Balthus, 1966, cat. no. 28
Marseille, Musée Catini, Balthus, 1973, cat. no. 56
New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Balthus, Paintings and Drawings, 1977, cat. no. 18
Venice, Palazzo Grassi, Balthus, 2001, cat. no. 109, illustrated in color

Literature

Virginie Monnier, Balthus, Catalogue Raisonné de l'oeuvre complet, Paris, 1999, cat. no. D. 868, illustrated

Catalogue Note

The most iconic motif in Balthus’s oeuvre is the reclining adolescent girl. Balthus drew the beautiful Étude pour Le Rêve II in 1956 while living in the Château de Chassy in the mountainous area of Morvan, France.  The present work is one of several compositions devoted to the theme of the dream, which was a subject that fascinated him throughout his life.  The series exemplifies the passive adolescent, slumbering or daydreaming, vulnerable and entirely objectified. In his memoirs, Balthus 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).

The present drawing, which is double-sided and features pencil sketches of a guitar on the reverse, relates to the important oil Le Rêve II which was also exhibited at Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 2001 (fig. 1).  In both works, the sleeping girl is Frédérique Tison, the stepdaughter of Balthus’s brother, Pierre Klossowski. Referring to Frédérique in the present work, the exhibition catalogue comments, "The drawing perfectly renders the depth of the sleep, the serenity with which the sleeper yields to it, and we can imagine the happiness her dream is bringing her" (exhibition catalogue, Balthus, p. 356).

Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon: Masterworks

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New York