Following the initial presentation of “Balthus: The Last Studies” at Gagosian New York at the time of the Metropolitan Museum's retrospective “Balthus: Cats and Girls” in 2013, Gagosian Paris is pleased to announce a career-spanning exhibition of Balthus’s paintings, drawings, and photographs. Prepared in collaboration with artist’s estate, this will be the first exhibition of his work in Paris since the 1983–84 retrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou.
Balthus was the reclusive painter of charged and disquieting narrative scenes, whose inspirative sources and embrace of exquisitely rigorous technique reach back to the early Renaissance, though with a subversive modern twist. Working independently of avant-garde movements such as Surrealism, he turned to antecedents including Piero della Francesca and Gustave Courbet, appropriating their techniques to depict the physical and psychic struggles of adolescence. Casting viewers as voyeurs of pubescent female subjects brooding with uneasy dreams, he scandalized Parisian audiences with his first gallery exhibition in 1934. In his interior portraits, street scenes, and landscapes of the next seventy years, Balthus cultivated a self-taught classicism as a framework for more enigmatic artistic investigations.