The first full-scale biography of one of the most elusive and enigmatic painters of our time – the self-proclaimed Count Balthus Klossowski de Rola – whose brilliantly rendered, markedly sexualized portraits, especially of young girls, are among the most memorable images in contemporary art.
The story of Balthus’s life has been shrouded by contradiction and hearsay, most of it his own invention; over the years he created for himself a persona of mystery, aristocracy, and glamour.
Now, in Nicholas Fox Weber’s superb biography, Balthus, the man and the artist, stands revealed as never before.
Weber’s critical and human grasp (he acutely analyzes the paintings in terms of both their aesthetic achievement and what they reveal in their maker’s psyche), combined with his rich knowledge of Balthus’s life and his insight into the ideas and forces that have helped to shape Balthus’s work over the past seven decades, gives us a striking, illuminating portrait of one of the most admired and outrageous artists of our time.
REVIEWS ON BALTHUS
“Weber gives us the good, the bad and the beautiful about this tortured character, this master of the dark mysteries of the perverse.”
— The Hartford Courant
“…A book that often reads like an update of one of those late novels of Henry James–as adapted, say, by Vladimir Nabokov–in which the narrator finds all appearances to be deceptive and every revelation is calculated to raise more questions than it answers.”
— Hilton Kramer, Wall Street Journal
“For anyone with the slightest interest in Balthus, it is a fascinating book.”
— London Evening Standard
“…A splendid account of a complex life and as fine an artist’s biography as this season is likely to produce.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Weber has delved deeper into Balthus’ life, and therefore into his narcissism, than any other commentator. The portrait that emerges is far from appealing, but every writer about Balthus from now on will have to study it carefully.”
— San Francisco Sunday Chronicle
“A cat and mouse game … one would believe one is in a novel by Henry James … an attentive and insightful biography.”
— Le Figaro Litteraire
“A rich and passionate biography with the rhythm of a thriller.”
— Le Point
“Weber’s weighty book chronicles a famous but secretive career and private life, and is often brilliant at analyzing individual works in depth.”
— The Weekend Australian