• Les Poissons rouges, 1948.

    Les Poissons rouges, 1948.


    Palazzo Grassi
    Campo San Samuele, 3231
    July 23, 2013–January 6, 2002

    Was the late Paris-born painter Balthus just another Humbert Humbert driven by a single-minded obsession for posing Lolitas? This 250-work survey, organized by curator Jean Clair, reveals that the artist’s undeniable predilection for fairy nymphets still left room for enigmatic landscapes, street scenes, society portraits, and theatrical drawings. An erudite old-schooler, Balthus associated with the likes of Giacometti and Artaud. But he also cultivated an ambivalent lifestyle as a reclusive aristocrat and snobbed his way into history. And not only art history, where he certainly deserves this timely second look: The comprehensive catalogue reviews both the work and the shady biography.