Balthasar Klossowski de Rola (1908-2001), known as Balthus was considered one of the great artists of 20th-century art. Balthus was known for many erotically paintings, with pubescent girls and voyeuristic poses. He also known for new ways of representing art. One of the most notorious works from his first exhibition in Paris was The Guitar Lesson (1934), which caused controversy due to its sadistic and sexually explicit imagery. His works were admired by artists like: André Breton, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Man Ray and Alberto Giacometti.
His work shows numerous influences, including the writings of Emily Brontë, the writings and photography of Lewis Carroll, and the paintings of Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Simone Martini, Poussin, Jean-Étienne Liotard, Joseph Reinhardt, Géricault, Ingres, Goya, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Courbet, Edgar Degas, Félix Vallotton and Paul Cézanne.
His work has influenced several contemporary artists, notably Duane Michals and Émile Chambon. He has also influenced the filmmaker Jacques Rivette of the French New Wave, whose film Hurlevent (1985) was inspired by Balthus’s.
Balthus Foundation is established in 1998.
A public petition was requesting that Balthus’s painting Thérèse Dreaming should be removed from display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with alleged explicit content and suggestive portrayal critics from Philip Kennicott The Washington Post.