Balthus: a visit to the study of the mystery

Visit to the study of the enigmatic painter to whom the Thyssen Museum dedicated in February, an exhibition that includes his work, 'Thérèse dreaming' Mor

Balthus: a visit to the study of the mystery

Visit to the study of the enigmatic painter to whom the Thyssen Museum dedicated in February, an exhibition that includes his work, 'Thérèse dreaming'

More information on art in THE WORLD

The atelier of Balthus, 17 years after his death, continues to hold hundreds of paintbrushes in jars of glass tables and chairs, pots of ceramic, an open letter, newspapers on the floors, rags soiled with oil, a wall clock anchored in ten, a book of Delacroix, a stove, cold, night tables with throatings yellow, blue and red, canvases facing the wall, a mirror and a huge crystal oriented to the north, welcoming the flood of light grayish-drops thick from a mountain that protects Rossinière.

"Everything is decided in the study. In the slowness of its time. I love those hours I spend looking at the canvas, meditate on him. By seeing it. Hours unparalleled in their silence," wrote the own Balthus in his Memoirs (Random House Mondadori).

This study is a huge hangar just 30 steps from the facade of his house, which at times was the largest chalet in Switzerland, an impressive mansion of 40 rooms that was once a hotel, rest, night of Victor Hugo (the legend adds Goethe and Voltaire) and room occasional of some of those students aristocratic englishmen of the SEVENTEENTH, EIGHTEENTH, and NINETEENTH on horseback or in carriages they were traveling to Florence, seeking light and knowledge, the Grand Tour. Balthus is has fell in love of this house, 1734. The date of construction and several phrases engraved and painted in black cross the wooden façade.

Pierre Matisse, his dealer, to satisfy his whim to change of work and since 1977 has lived from the silence of French-speaking Switzerland. He died there in 2001, the artist, born Balthazar Klossowski de Rola in Paris in 1908. There is an effort to die, next to his second wife, the painter Setsuko, whom he met in Japan, 1962 as a performer when she was 20 years old and he 54. Balthus had gone as an emissary of culture of the French Government at the urging of his friend André Malraux. Now, the widow is the one who authenticates the artist's works and the daughter takes the reins of the rights.

Setsuko get dressed with a kimono, the hair was really stretched in a bun and some sandals wooden sole. At four in the afternoon. In a room of the ground floor of the villa, a filipino who spent 10 years working in Barcelona and was named Omar, and served with a white jacket up to five modalities of tea. On a table lie pieces of cake, mandarin oranges, kiwis, nuts, and peanuts. Is the feast to the visitors in the chalet after looking at the atelier.

Nor Setsuko nor the servant filipino or the housekeeper dressed of thérèse are in a hurry. It is not the practice. It is lead by the stays, with stealth, between photos dedicated to the artist by Cartier-Bresson, various hanging pieces, and unfinished of the count, two cats, and two dogs that have been locked for do not disturb, umbrella and cabinets glazed to protect porcelain dolls, masks and puppets. There are wall clocks and others that rest on consoles, tables and bargueños next to sofas and velvet chairs. All nods.

Nothing makes me suspect that the man who lived here escandalizara a year ago to 10,000 biempensantes for display in the Metropolitan museum of New York a painting that portrays a lolita who let see your underwear. The table stirred, Thérèse dreaming (1938), as was shown in a retrospective at the Reina Sofia in 1996.

Countess, what would he have said today Balthus?Let people opine. He cared about what they thought they knew of art, if not said, "think about what they want."How he painted her husband?Always with the light of the day. Was it disciplined?It... depended on. Painting is like praying, he said.

"Believe in my girls, there is a eroticism of perverse is to stay at the level of material things. Is to understand nothing of the languideces teens, their innocence is to ignore the truth of childhood."

A painter is also made by copying the other. Balthus was sculpting while playing the strokes of Poussin at the Louvre, travelling in 1926 to Italy to appreciate in situ the frescoes of Giotto, Masaccio and, above all, Piero della Francesca, who will remain faithful until the end. In the atelier of Rossinière, in a cabinet under three shelves, resting catalogs Della Francesca, Goya, Bonnard, Cézanne, Giacometti, Braque.

The paintings of Balthus show figures reclining, sleepy, lying, alien. Children or adolescents contemplating nothing, inhabitants of a fantasy. As if hypnotized. The eyes open, the hands fall on the arms of a chair. Next to a glass and a plate with a piece of fruit. Women standing with a book in his hand, looking towards the viewer -Portrait of a woman (Madame Hilaire) (1938)- or sitting on the edge of a table next to a small glass jar -Portrait of the lady of Paul Cooley (1937). It is said that certain ladies well-to-do the punishing sentándolas in uncomfortable positions, such as on the edge of the table, tired of so much social commitment.

'Thérèse dreaming' (1939). Fragment of one of the most mysterious works of Balthus.

Balthus enjoyed Mozart -"not a day without Mozart," Così fan tutte along with their cats lying in the living room of the house, but not in the studio, where everything is recollection, a massive shed, four metres high where it thickens the time. Walk among ashtrays and seats, chaisse longue and notebooks has something of an impertinence, I crept without permission into the bedroom of someone who was never in a hurry; in their 92-year-old just signed 350 paintings. Even had a 16-year period that only ended 20 works.

"I have a reputation of painting a picture in ten years. I know when it is finished. That is to say, when it is fulfilled. No stroke, nor the slightest trace of color should be corrected the world finally reached the secret place by order received".

"There are two types of painters, those that feed from the outside reality, and recreate your inner world, which have their own repertoire; to this group belong Degas, Gauguin, and Balthus," says Guillermo Solana, artistic director of the Thyssen Museum. And says Paul Lombard: "Your painting wise and dreamer flees from the premeditation. Do not want to dazzle, casts a spell; he does not want to provoke, captive".

To enter with caution in the world Balthus should be to visit a small chapel deconsecrated in the village itself where, in addition to artists ' books and posters from the count, you can see a documentary film about Balthus directed Wim Wenders. An appetizer that's about the weightlessness in which they unfolded, this man is worldly, enigmatic, distant, and polite, proud, refined. And mystical your way.

"painting is a mode of access to the mystery of God. There is No vanity in it. Rather humility".

Never got to visit Spain, or when the Reina Sofía dedicated a retrospective between January and march of 1996, but saw in Switzerland that exhibition with the great treasures of the Prado Museum who traveled through Valencia, Barcelona, Avignon, Lausanne, Geneva and back to Madrid during the three years of the Civil War.

"Picasso came to see me. I said: 'you Are the only one of the painters of your generation who interests me. Others want to be like Picasso. You don't'".

Balthus interested him to be himself. When the earthquake of surrealism swept Europe, he was betting for the slowness of Giotto; in the years turbulent of the avant-garde, when the isms are overlapping each other, when Picasso absorbed and deglutía all the trends and made them their own, Balthus did not move from his locker, he remained true to himself. "Painting is not to represent, but to penetrate. Go to the bottom of the secret."

And Rainer Maria Rilke. The poet was to your vera from the beginning. Balthus, perhaps, would not have been who he was without her support when he was a young lad with concerns. The writer, who loved his mother, he wrote a prologue that will hold his first drawings and gave him a Divine Comedy. Their looks were upcoming, and maybe you already were marked in 1898, when the poet wrote in his Diary florentine the following: "Protect the art so that it remains oblivious to the current controversy; because your homeland is beyond all time. His combats are like the storms that bear seed, and of your victories are like spring".

The spirituality of the silent pictures of Balthus, his temperature without a thermometer, the mercury of their colours, their figures, mild, without time, float even in this study where he spent his last 25 years. I was back, tired of the banality, of the costume parties held at the Villa Medici in Rome, tired of the age in which he lived at the château de Chassy with "a butler Italian, dressed in a white jacket with gold braid" welcoming critics and collectors, as we are reminded by James Lord in the book Balthus (Elba).

In this retreat away from the entire hullabaloo is still beating, out of time, the dreams of their teenage girls asleep and desmadejadas on a deck chair, or reading on a carpet next to a piano or simply looking with the eyes closed.

According to the criteria of

Learn more

Date Of Update: 22 November 2018, 20:01

Yorum yapabilmek için üye girişi yapmanız gerekmektedir.

Üye değilseniz hemen üye olun veya giriş yapın.