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Nude with Cat
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More about Nude with Cat

nlipman's picture

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Balthus often painted school girls in erotic poses. In a way, the Facebook of the 1930s.

His leading and inspiring model, Therese Blancher, is his claim to fame. Therese was seventeen years younger than Balthus at the time she modeled for him. She was the daughter of a Parisian waiter who lived next door to Balthus' studio. Therese died at age 25. We tried finding out what she died of, but were unable to figure it out (email us if you know). 

For a living, Balthus painted commissioned portraits. He hated it. He called these creations: My Monsters.
 
Nude with Cat is erotic, but not bold nor grotesque. A girl at puberty. Perhaps rebellious, perhaps just bored. An un-victorian painting of a girl with a cat.
 
Cats were Balthus' big love, he was fascinated by them. Balthus was a sort of a cat himself: distant, charming and unexpected. In 1935, he painted his self-portrait as The King of Cats.
 
Balthus refused to be interviewed by journalists. Only in the 80's did he allow interviews in his home in Rossiniere, Switzerland. His artwork was criticized. Balthus was surprised. He didn't think that the pubescent girls he painted were 'Lolitas.' Balthus painted them because they were pure and eternal.
 
Balthus once said: 'Childhood is a broken paradise.'