Balthus and Cats

Alain Vircondelet

Balthus and Cats
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Balthus and Cats

Alain Vircondelet

Alain Vircondelet was a close friend of the late Balthus and originally wrote this text in intimate collaboration with the artist. He explains the symbolism within Balthus’s paintings and draws parallels between the sleepy, languishing forms of the girls and cats he painted. Balthus, who referred to himself as the Thirteenth King of Cats, regularly featured the feline form in his art, even as early as age nine, when he recounted the story of his cat Mitsou through forty Indian ink drawings; Rainer Maria Rilke would later write the foreword to the published volume of these drawings. Balthus’s wife Setsuko and their daughter Harumi shared his deep affection for cats and the family’s devotion becomes evident in this volume, which offers behind-the-scenes access into their home, featuring personal photographs, belongings, and reproductions of the artist’s cat paintings.

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