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BALTHUS in his Own Words

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Directory: Traditional Collectibles: Books: References: Fine Art: Contemporary: item # 348411

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BALTHUS in his Own Words
Balthus & de Albornoz, Cristina Carrillo BALTHUS IN HIS OWN WORDS New York City, NY Assouline 2001. Hardcover. First American Edition. First Printing. 80 pages. As New in As New Dust Jacket. Collection of interviews. Conducted and transcribed by Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz. The first appearance of the title in the United States. A handsomely produced book, with a lovely photograph of Balthus on the cover. Presents Count Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, better-known simply as Balthus, in a candid self-portrait, in the form of a series of answers to questions (the questions are not printed, in a very unusual twist to the interview format, like the unheard but comprehensible questions from the person on the other side of a telephone conversation). It is also very apt because Balthus was one of the most reclusive artists who enjoyed an enormous international "cult" stature, his paintings commanding millions of dollars. At one point, the great art critic Robert Hughes regarded him as the greatest living painter. The genius began drawing and painting as a child and published a series of drawings in collaboration with the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who was already a celebrated writer and a close friend of the Klossowski de Rola family (Balthus's brother Pierre Klossowski published novels such as "The Baphomet", which is now part of the 20th-century literary canon). Balthus accepted painting on commission from very wealthy collectors but he took his time. He typically spent years on one painting, obsessively creating, observing, destroying and re-creating the exact same work, much to his patron's dismay and frustration. He was obsessed with nubile, pre-adolescent girls, who to him symbolized purity and beauty, innocence and perfection. These sexually suggestive paintings remain controversial to this day and are his most influential work. Together with such reclusive and obsessive artists as Giorgio Morandi, Diane Arbus and Pierre Molinier, among a few others, Balthus's whole existence was exclusively devoted to the private world he created for his own pleasure. In the end, public reception and acceptance meant nothing to him. In his case, it only made him more rather than less attractive to collectors. This title is now out-of-print. This copy has no flaws. A scarce copy thus. Lavishly illustrated with reproductions of Balthus's works and family photographs that have not appeared anywhere else before. One of the greatest artists of the 20th century. A flawless copy.

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