Balthus was a reclusive painter of charged and disquieting narrative scenes. Skirting avant-garde movements such as Surrealism, he appropriated the techniques of such antecedents as Piero della Francesca and Gustave Courbet to depict the physical and psychic struggles of adolescence. Casting viewers as voyeurs of brooding pubescent female subjects, he scandalized audiences with his first gallery exhibition, at Galerie Pierre, Paris, in 1934. In the sixty years that followed, Balthus cultivated a self-taught classicism—evident in the subject matter and technique of his interior portraits, street scenes, and landscapes—that ultimately served as a framework for more enigmatic and subversive artistic investigations.
Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski de Rola) was born in 1908 in Paris, and died in 2001 in Rossinière, Switzerland. His first major museum exhibition was at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1956. Other important exhibitions include Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris (1966); A Retrospective Exhibition, Tate, London (1968); 39th Biennale di Venezia, Venice (1980); Balthus in Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1980); Centre Pompidou, Paris (1983–84, traveled to Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York); Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art (1984); Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland (1993); Hong Kong Museum of Art (1995); Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2001); Time Suspended: Paintings and Drawings 1932–1960, Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2007); 100th Anniversary, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, Switzerland (2008); Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (2014, traveled to Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art); Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2013–14); and Scuderie del Quirinale and Villa Medici, Rome (2015).
L’Atelier de Balthus, in partnership with Steidl and Gagosian, announces the preparation of a two-volume catalogue raisonné of Balthus’s work to be published in the fall of 2022. Edited under the direction of Yves Guignard, this updated edition of the inaugural catalogue raisonné first issued in 1999 by Jean Clair and Virginie Monnier will incorporate in-depth archival research about Balthus’s artistic legacy. The newly designed publication will unveil recently discovered artworks as well as include comprehensive provenance and exhibition histories accompanied by full-color reproductions of Balthus’s painting oeuvre, related drawings, and studies.
Collectors with a previously unauthenticated or unknown work by Balthus in their possession are invited to contact the editorial team at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit the work for potential inclusion in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné.
Those whose works were featured in the 1999 catalogue raisonné are requested to submit updated provenance and exhibition history details as well as high-resolution digital images for inclusion in the new publication before December 1, 2021.
Balthus, Passage du Commerce-Saint-André, 1952–54 © Balthus, 2021
Art Basel Hong Kong 2021
May 21–23, 2021, booth 1d30
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong with a presentation of modern and contemporary painting and sculpture by gallery artists. New paintings by Georg Baselitz, Alex Israel, Ed Ruscha, and Sarah Sze are featured alongside exceptional works in a range of mediums by Louise Bonnet, Theaster Gates, Henry Moore, Nam June Paik, and others, uncovering formal and conceptual innovations and associations that span genres and aesthetic approaches.
Georg Baselitz, Noch ein Orangenesser, 2020 © Georg Baselitz
FIAC Online 2021
March 2–12, 2021
Gagosian is pleased to present Printemps oublié for the first online edition of FIAC. This curated presentation reflects the dual character of springtime as a reminder of past trials and the harbinger of a vibrant new season to come.
All the artworks will appear on the Gagosian website and a rotating selection will appear in the inaugural FIAC Online Viewing Rooms, from March 4 to 7.
Jeff Koons, Bluebird Planter, 2010–16 © Jeff Koons
A Labour of Love
Through October 1, 2021
Tarmak22, Gstaad Saanen Airport, Switzerland
Découpage presents more than 150 cut-paper works made in the nineteenth and twentieth century by Swiss masters. Tracing the origins and development of the paper cutout, the exhibition honors the craft’s history and its Swiss heritage while creating a dialogue with a selection of contemporary artworks brought to Gstaad by collaborators including Gagosian. Work by Balthus, Richard Prince, and Setsuko is included.
Balthus, Paysage de Monte Calvello, 1978 © Balthus
February 19–May 26, 2019
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
This exhibition brings together more than fifty important paintings by Balthus from every phase of his oeuvre. The starting point of the show is his monumental painting Passage du Commerce-Saint-André (1952–54), which epitomizes the artist’s intensive engagement with the dimensions of space and time in the image, and with their relationship to figure and object. This exhibition has traveled from the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen/Basel.
Balthus, Thérèse, 1938 © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
September 2, 2018–January 1, 2019
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel
The Fondation Beyeler brings together more than fifty important paintings by Balthus from every phase of his oeuvre. The starting point of the show is his monumental painting Passage du Commerce-Saint-André (1952–54), which epitomizes the artist’s intensive engagement with the dimensions of space and time in the image, and with their relationship to figure and object.
Balthus, The Card Game, 1948–50, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid © Balthus
Derain, Balthus, Giacometti
Friendship among Artists
February 1–May 6, 2018
Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid
The exhibition, with more than one hundred works, traces the artistic friendship of these three major artists, who met in 1933 and whose lives and works would intersect over the ensuing decades. Beyond sharing personal affinities, the three artists played with rules of representation, style, and technique. This exhibition has traveled from the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Alberto Giacometti, Aïka, 1959, Fondation Beyeler © Succession Alberto Giacometti (Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris + ADAGP, Paris) 2017