We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy



Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, better known as Balthus was one of the most famous Polish-French artists. He was born in Paris, on February 29, 1908, in the family of painters. The nickname Balthus was originated from his childhood nickname and was used very often since then.

His father, Erich Klossowski was born in Poland but grew up in Ragnit, the town in East Prussia, where he met his wife, Elisabeth Dorothée Spiro. She was descended from Russian Jews, who had moved to East Prussia a long time ago. Elisabeth has happened to be a painter as well. So, basically, all the members of the family were creative, which affected little Balthasar from early years.

Balthus had an older brother, Pierre, who was born in 1905, three years before his younger sibling. Klossowski children had a Scottish nanny and could speak English like their first language, though their parents used German to communicate with each other. Two brothers lived in the environment full of art and famous people, artists, and writers who visited their house frequently. Soon they became good friends with Rainer Maria Rilke, André Gide, and Jean Cocteau.

Key ideas in painting

We will write a custom essay sample on Balthus specifically for you
for only $16.38 $13.9/page

Order now

Balthus is known mostly for his unusual erotically charged paintings of adolescent girls. Though his famous artworks where perceived critically and some people accused him of pedophilia, the artist always insisted that his paintings are for admiration, not for discussion. However, when disputes were over, the artist’s depiction of dreamy young girls had been interpreted as the truthful awkwardness of teenagers.

Famous paintings made by Balthus

Balthasar’s style of painting is considered to be classical. He created artworks that show many influences, including and photography of Lewis Carroll and the writings of Emily Bronte.

The most popular paintings of Balthasar Klossowski de Rola: Guitar lesson, Therese dreaming, Katia reading, The king of cats, The card game, Patience, Lady Abdy and Nude at rest.

Therese is dreaming.

This painting was created in 1938, the year after Girl and cat. Some people say these two works are very similar, but we can see the striking difference. The girl, named Therese is depicted as more mature. Young person on the painting is dreamy and ecstatic; her face is turned away from the observer.




Guitar lesson

This artwork was made in 1934 and hasn’t been shown since the last exhibition in New York, in 1977. This painting is an excellent example of symbolism and Balthasar’s unique style of depicting young girls in order to explain the hidden meaning of his works.





Young girl with a white skirt.

This female portrait was created in 1955 by Balthus, and its style is considered to be impressionism. This work is one of the most famous nude paintings in the artist’s collection.






Girl and cat.

The early period in art is defined with depicting Balthus’ young neighbor Therese Blanchard, who became the central figure of most of his paintings of that time. She always sits in open pose and demonstrates her sensual knowingness that is thought to be unacceptable at her age.


How to cite this page

Choose cite format:

Balthus. (2018, Sep 06). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/artists/balthus-biography-57923/

We will write a custom essay sample onBalthusspecifically for you

for only $16.38 $13.9/page
Order now