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Travel Tip: Art and Archaeology in Germany
Balthus - Time Suspended: Paintings and Drawings 1932 to 1960

Balthus - Time Suspended: Paintings and Drawings 1932 to 1960
COLOGNE  •  Museum Ludwig, Cologne  •  Ongoing

After Edward Hopper and Salvador Dalí the Museum Ludwig thus continues the series of monographical exhibitions devoted to great painters of the 20th century.

The French artist Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski 1908 -2001) has always been considered an outsider who kept aloof from the contemporary art movements of his time. Critics have regarded him as an oddity that adopted an Old Master technique, however the artist himself always declared that he strove for a realism that is “timeless.”

On show are around 70 outstanding paintings and drawings from the years 1932 to 1960, on loan from international public and private collections.

Balthus created his major works over the years from the 1930s to the 1960s while living in Paris and Chassy. The beginning of this period was marked by the scandal occasioned by his first exhibition in 1934 at Galerie Pierre in Paris. He presented a series of large canvases such as La Rue (The Street), La Leçon de guitare (The Guitar Lesson) or La Fenêtre (The Window), all depicting traditional motifs that are, as such, fairly innocuous. But the pointed eroticism in his paintings caused shock and consternation, just as Balthus had intended.

Over the following decades Balthus portrayed his contemporaries, painted landscapes and streetscapes, and returned time and again to young girls on the threshold of adulthood. Although during this period abstract and surrealist painting was at its zenith, Balthus cast his figurative motifs in a "timeless realism", as he termed it. The influence of the Italian Quattrocento and French classicism, as well as his adoption of the painting techniques of the old masters, gave him a singular position within the contemporary art scene. And yet his works were greatly admired by his contemporaries, such as Alberto Giacometti, Antonin Artaud, Paul Éluard and Albert Camus

The exhibition is accompanied by the book Balthus -- Time Suspended. Paintings and Drawings 1932 -- 1960 by Sabine Rewald, with a text by Virginie Monnier, published by Museum Ludwig and Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, 2007.

Museum Ludwig, Cologne Web Site

Contact: Museum Ludwig, Cologne
Bischofsgartenstr. 1
50667 Köln
Tel: (49) 221 221 24 483

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