Posts Tagged ‘ Balthus ’

Properly appreciated

Dec 6th, 2017 1:11 pm | By

From another piece reporting on the Met and Balthus and the petition:

In a 2013 review of the Balthus show in The New Republic, critic Jed Perl called Balthus the “last of the mystics who transformed twentieth-century art.” Perl said mystics are “by turns revered, reviled, demonized, and ignored—and at one point or another in his very long career Balthus was regarded in all of those ways.”

Perl added that Balthus’s paintings of girls “have stood in the way of a full appreciation of his achievement.” He wrote that these works “can be properly appreciated only when we accept them as unabashedly mystical, the flesh a symbol of the spirit, the girl’s dawning self-awareness an emblem of the artist’s

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Hovering between innocence and knowledge

Dec 6th, 2017 12:54 pm | By

The Met on a Balthus exhibition in 2013:

Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations explores the origins and permutations of the French artist’s focus on felines and the dark side of childhood. Balthus’s lifelong fascination with adolescence resulted in his most iconic works: girls on the threshold of puberty, hovering between innocence and knowledge. In these pictures, Balthus mingles intuition into his young sitters’ psyches with an erotic undercurrent and forbidding austerity, making them some of the most powerful depictions of childhood and adolescence committed to canvas.

That’s a very Humbert Humbert sort of take. It frames the girls as budding prostitutes, gradually learning how to lure men. It also frames them as being all about sexuality and nothing … Read the rest


Dec 5th, 2017 5:38 pm | By

What is art? How do we know, how does anyone know? Does it become art when it’s framed and hung in a museum?

Like Balthus’s Thérèse dreaming for instance.

Is that art? Or is it a voyeur peering up a teenage girl’s skirt and masturbating?

It may be art, but it for sure is an adult man posing a teenage girl in such a way that we’re staring at her crotch.

Phillip Kennicott, probably not a teenage girl, says It’s Art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has made the right decision, to reject the demands of an online petition calling for the removal of an erotically charged work by the Polish French artist Balthus. The 1938 painting, “Thérèse Dreaming,”

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