Balthus (1908-2001)
Balthus (1908-2001)

Katia dans un fauteuil les bras levés

Balthus (1908-2001)
Katia dans un fauteuil les bras levés
signed 'Balthus' (lower left)
pencil on paper
27 ¾ x 20 7/8 in. (70.4 x 53.2 cm.)
Drawn in 1970-1971
Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris (1971).
Private collection, Paris.
Thomas Ammann Fine Art, Zurich.
Private collection, Switzerland.
Ronnie Meyerson, Inc., New York.
Dr. and Mrs. Robert Nowinski, Seattle (acquired from the above, by 1992).
David Tunkl Fine Art, Los Angeles (acquired from the above).
Acquired from the above by the late owners, June 1993.
J. Leymarie, Balthus, Geneva, 1978 (illustrated, pl. VIII; titled Jeune fille dans un fauteuil).
V. Monnier and J. Clair, Balthus: Catalogue Raisonné of the Complete Works, New York, 1999, p. 348, no. D 1204 (illustrated).
Paris, Galerie Claude Bernard, Balthus: Dessins et aquarelles, October 1971, no. 24 (illustrated).
Roslyn, New York, Nassau County Museum of Art and Princeton, University Art Museum, 20th Century Master Watercolors, Drawings and Sculpture: From the Nowinski Collection, May 1992-April 1993, p. 14 (illustrated, p. 15).
Kunstmuseum Bern, Balthus: Zeichnungen, June-September 1994, p. 83, no. 59 (illustrated; dated 1967 and titled Mädchen in einem Lehnstuhl).

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Allegra Bettini
Allegra Bettini

Lot Essay

Balthus drew this sleeping young model in his studio at the Villa Medici, the quarters of the Académie de France in Rome, of which Balthus served as Director from 1961 to 1977. The model in this drawing is Katia Terreri, who with her sister Michelina—they were the daughters of a Villa employee—served as the artist's chief models while he was resident in Rome. His friend the writer André Malraux, the Minister of Culture in the de Gaulle government, appointed him to this post. The selection of Balthus was controversial; his idiosyncratic art was not well-known or appreciated beyond a small circle of cognoscenti, he had never won the Prix de Rome or attended the Académie, and he had no experience in administering a state-funded organization. Malraux had charged him with the task of overseeing the renovation of the Villa Medici and its grounds, so that it might again display the grandeur it had possessed a century and a quarter earlier, when Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres served as director.
"Restoring the Villa Medici's splendor was a real obsession for me," Balthus later recalled. "The project has some relation to spiritual life, a way of preserving life. All of us are responsible for past history, whose testimony must be maintained at all costs, their infinite patience and extraordinary mastery. For me, removing the Villa's cheap finery and vulgar furnishings that had victimized it over the years was a job of rebirth, a form of elevation" (Balthus, Vanished Splendors: A Memoir, New York, 2001, pp. 141-142). To this end Balthus was successful, but the effort left him little time to paint; he completed only a dozen major figure paintings during his sixteen-year tenure at the Villa Medici, but with many more drawings related to these canvases.

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