Art: The Nymphets of Balthus

Down the line from Donatella to Courbet

For the past 30 years, Count Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, a French aristocrat of Polish extraction better known by his painting name of Balthus, has been one of the least available major artists in the world. The fame of a star painter, Marcel Duchamp once shrewdly observed, depends on an inflation of small anecdotes. About Balthus, none are in circulation. At 69 he has no public face. When André Malraux made him director of the French Academy in Rome—a post Balthus held for 16 years until his...

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