Balthus Unveiled

When London's Tate gallery was preparing a retrospective of Balthus' works in 1968, organizers wanted to write a tribute to the artist and asked for his input. "Balthus is a painter of whom nothing is known," he replied.

That analysis reflects Balthus' lifelong elusiveness and explains why the French artist, who died in Switzerland in February 2001 at the age of 92, remained a mystery to all but a few intimate friends. Even his name and title — Count Balthazar Klossowski de Rola — were a subject of speculation, with some saying the title was fabricated by...

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