176pp 120 ILLUS (100 COLOUR) 2013 LIST PRICE: £29.95 AA78



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Balthus’s lifelong fascination with the dark side of childhood resulted in his most iconic works: canvases depicting girls on the brink of puberty, hovering between innocence and knowledge. In these pictures, the artist mingled intuition into his young sitters’ psyches with overt erotic desire and forbidding austerity. Balthus’s portraits of a local young Parisienne named Therese Blanchard, and his interior scenes featuring Therese’s various successors, are among the most powerful depictions of childhood and adolescence in the Western canon. Far from being mere pretty girls in frilly dresses, Balthus’s subjects are self-possessed and self-absorbed individuals, with a palpable but mysterious interior life. Also present in many of the images are cryptic cats -- often smiling, sometimes leering, and likely as not standing in for Balthus himself. This beautiful catalogue focuses on the early decades of his career, from the mid-1930s to the 1950s.