Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Balthazar Klossowski de Rola (February 29, 1908 in Paris – February 18, 2001) was an esteemed Polish/French modern artist whose work was ultimately anti-modern. In his formative years his art was sponsored by Rilke. As he matured in the early 1930s, his paintings often depicted pubescent young girls in erotic and voyeuristic poses. His most notorious work was The Guitar Lesson (1934) -here shown-, which caused controversy in Paris due to its depiction of a sexually explicit lesbian scene featuring a young girl and her teacher.
His father, Erich Klossowski,a noted art historian ( he wrote a monograph on Daumier), and his mother Elisabeth Dorothea Spiro (known as Baladine Klossowska) were part of cultural elite in Paris. Balthus' older brother, Pierre Klossowski , was a philosopher influenced by Marquis de Sade writings. Balthus spent most of his life in France, and as international fame grew he cultivated himself and his past as an enigma. He moved to Switzerland. That he had a Japanese wife Setsuko thirty-five years his junior simply added to the air of mystery around him. Balthus was the only living artist who had his artwork in the Louvre's collection (it came from Picasso's private collection when it was donated to that museum).
Biographers rushed into print shortly after his death, and their work has since been severely and widely criticised as being unreasonable and confused.
Balthus: Catalogue Raisonne of the Complete Works. (Editions Gallimard, 2000)
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