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Balthus, a Retrospective at the Pierre Gianadda Foundation in Switzerland

With Jean Clair, from the Académie Française

Jean Clair from the Académie Française and commissioner (together with Dominique Radrizzani) of the Balthus retrospective is with us in the studio of Canal Académie.


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It is the only important retrospective in the world celebrating the centenary of this major figure in the XXth century’s art history. An event. And the Pierre Gianadda Foundation, in Martigny, Switzerland, chose the Balthus exhibition to mark the foundation’s own thirtieth anniversary. It was inaugurated on November 19th in 1978.



Another event : the presence of Jean Clair in our studio of Canal Academie. Jean Clair, is the commissioner (together with Dominique Radrizzani) of this exhibition in Martigny, and certainly «the» specialist of Balthus’s work. And recently, in May 2008, Jean Clair was elected at the Academie Française.




This retrospective in Martigny leads us to consider all the periods and all the themes of Balthus’s work. Jean Clair guides us through the different stages of his life and the major paintings of each one. (His Polish-German-Jewish origins, his childhood in Beatenberg, Switzerland – Paris – the farm of Chassy in the French province of the Morvan – Villa Medicis – Japan - the big chalet of Rossinière, Switzerland…)

Observing Balthus’s paintings, you find several recurrent themes :
Women – languishing young girls (nymphs) and cats, almost central figures in his paintings (the famous volume Mitsou (at the age of 11 with a foreword by Rilke) - le Roi des Chats - Thérèse rêvantLe SalonLes Poissons rougesLe Chat de la MéditerrannéeLe Lever II).



All quite erotic in their inspiration…

In order to get better acquainted with the «Balthus mystery», Jean Clair talks about the painter Balthus, his technique, his aesthetics and his particular talent as an artist to dispose things in space. He also tells us about the aims, the ambition or the quest of the man Balthus.


There is so much to discover around Balthus, his life, his loves, his encounters, his friendships… (from Rilke to Pierre Jean(...)


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