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PRINT Summer 1984

SUGAR AND VICE AND...BALTHUS: A RETROSPECTIVE

I saw the polka dots dancing, so to speak, on the ruffled jumpers of the two smaller girls seated side by side in the warm grass and holding hands, blowing chubby laughter in my direction as if they had never seen me before. And the peace, the warmth, the stasis, the smell of it—in such circumstances how could I help but enjoy my own immensity of size or the range of my interests, how help but appreciate the adaptability of certain natural scenes which, like this one, allow for the play of children one minute and the seclusion of adults the next? I felt a coolness between my porous thin white shirt and the skin of my chest. In linen slacks and alligator belt and hard low-cut shoes the color of amber, I sensed the consciousness of someone carefully dressed for taking care of children.

—John Hawkes, The Blood Oranges

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART’S installation of “Balthus” began with The

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