Inkjet on watercolour paper
85 x 64 cm
Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski de Rola) is an unusual figure in 20th century art. He is a classicist rather than a modernist and his voyeuristic depictions of pubescent girls exude a European decadence and a disturbing erotic frisson that would probably land him in prison if he had painted them today. These qualities are implicit rather than overt in his 1943 painting, Patience. The disarray of the objects and the hunched pose of the girl suggest a pent-up energy and frustration with her playthings, and with the comfortable bourgeois parlour.
The attraction of re-imagining this painting lay with the psychological resonance of the room with its objects. The jumble of colours and textures crushed against the left of the picture plane, the contrast of the prison like, yet compositionally stabilising stripes of the wallpaper and the dramatic diagonal of the figure speak a sophisticated compositional language that echoes the emotional landscape of the room's occupant.
Balthus, Patience: The Art Institute of Chicago