As a young boy Balthus’s drawings were published in his book Mitsou (1921), which included an introduction by Rilke, and started him off at an early age on a lifelong artistic career.
Clearly Balthus’s early exposure to creative energies both through his parents and through their social circles propelled him to an artistic career from a young age. He created art throughout his early years, while visiting foreign places …show more content…
His work was represented in New York by Pierre Matisse Gallery, and by 1956 he had his first major museum solo exhibition at New York’s MoMA. By this time, Balthus’s tendency towards the eccentric had become well established.
By 1964 he moved to Rome, settling in with the cultural set there and befriending legends like Federico Fellini, while serving as director of the French Academy in Rome at Villa Medici. He moved to Switzerland in 1977 and married his second (much younger) wife, with whom he had a son who died young.
The mystique that endures regarding Balthus’s life and career was in no doubt fostered by the artist, but it is clear that his eccentricities contributed to his establishment in the art history canon.
In 1968 a retrospective of Balthus’s work was held at London’s Tate Gallery and in preparation the painter sent them the following:
NO BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS. BEGIN: BALTHUS IS A PAINTER OF WHOM NOTHING IS KNOWN. NOW LET US LOOK AT THE PICTURES. REGARDS. B.
Balthus continued to work but led a more and more reclusive life with his wife. He died in 2001 in Switzerland.