For Balthus, the female sitter was a lifelong subject— whether daydreaming, reclining, or sleeping, often nude or partly clothed, and typically charged with erotic content. Nude Before a Mirror is striking for the sculptural monumentality of the model and the soft, silvery light that bathes the figure and fills the room. The model’s hieratic pose evokes figures in an ancient Egyptian frieze.
Signature: Signed and dated (lower right, on the baseboard): Balthus 1955
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York; acquired from the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, by Robert Lehman, New York, December 1958.