This mountainscape evokes places from Balthus’s youth, but is made up of transformed and invented elements. The plateau on which the girl rests is imaginary but is set on the Niederhorn in the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. The mountain on the left, the Sigriswiler Rothorn, abruptly appears above a valley that is not seen but that has been compressed. Beatenberg, where the artist spent his summers as a youth, would lie far below. Balthus transformed the bucolic scene into personal allegory in The Mountain, which was acquired by The Met in 1982 (1982.530).
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Artist:Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) (French, Paris 1908–2001 Rossinière)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:23 5/8 x 28 3/4 in. (60 x 73 cm)
Credit Line:Purchase, Gift of Himan Brown, by exchange, 1996
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower left): Balthus 1935
the artist (1935–38; sold ca. 1938 to Gomès); Henriette Gomès, Paris (ca. 1938–d. 1994); her widower, André Gomès, Paris (1994–96; sold in 1996 to MMA)
Paris. Galerie Henriette Gomès. "Balthus," June 1966, no catalogue.
Ornans. Musée-Maison Natale Gustave Courbet. "Balthus dans la maison de Courbet," July 4–September 6, 1992, no. 10.
Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne. "Balthus," May 29–August 29, 1993, unnumbered cat. (p. 14; as "Etude pur La Montagne," lent by a private collection).
Musée Picasso, Antibes. "Le regard d'Henriette: Collection Henriette et André Gomès," July 1–September 30, 1994, no. 1 (as "Etude pour la montagne").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 108).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Balthus Remembered," March 27–May 27, 2001, no catalogue.
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," September 14–November 24, 2002, no. 63.
Tokyo. Bunkamura Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," December 7, 2002–March 9, 2003, no. 63.
Martigny. Fondation Pierre Gianadda. "Balthus: 100e anniversaire," June 16–November 23, 2008, no. 38 (as "Etude pour 'La Montagne [L'Eté]'").
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art—Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 6, 2012–January 4, 2013, not in catalogue.
Beijing. National Museum of China. "Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art—Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 8–May 9, 2013, not in catalogue.
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Rétrospective Balthus," April 19–June 22, 2014, no. 19 (as "Étude pour 'La Montagne [L'Été]'").
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Balthus," July 5–September 7, 2014, no. 19.
Rome. Scuderie del Quirinale. "Balthus," October 24, 2015–January 31, 2016, unnumbered cat. (p. 76; as "Étude pour 'La Montagne' [L'Été]").
Vienna. Kunstforum Wien. "Balthus: Balthasar Klossowski de Rola," February 24–June 19, 2016, unnumbered cat. (p. 109; as "Studie zu 'Der Berg [Summertime]'").
Gérard Régnier, ed. Balthus. Exh. cat., Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne. Paris, 1983, p. 344, no. 28, ill., calls it "Étude pour La Montagne".
Sabine Rewald in "Recent Acquisitions. A Selection: 1995–1996." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 54 (Fall 1996), p. 57, ill. (color), identifies the model for the sleeping figure as Sheila Pickering, a British friend of the artist.
Claude Roy. Balthus. [Paris], 1996, ill. p. 246 (color), calls it "Étude pour 'La Montagne'".
Sabine Rewald. "Balthus's Magic Mountain." Burlington Magazine 139 (September 1997), pp. 622, 626–27, fig. 51 (color), states that according to the artist, he based both this picture and “The Mountain” (MMA 1982.530) on a now lost watercolor
Virginie Monnier in Virginie Monnier and Jean Clair. Balthus: Catalogue Raisonné of the Complete Works. Paris, 1999, pp. 126–27, no. P87, ill., calls it "Étude pour 'La Montagne (Summertime)'".
William S. Lieberman. "Les Peintres de Paris à New York." Connaissance des arts no. 578 (December 2000), p. 130.
Sabine Rewald. Balthus: Time Suspended. Paintings and Drawings 1932–1960. Exh. cat., Museum Ludwig, Cologne. Munich, 2007, pp. 29, 56, 62–63, fig. 46.
Dominique Radrizzani inBalthus:100e anniversaire. Ed. Jean Clair and Dominique Radrizzani. Exh. cat., Fondation Pierre Gianadda. Martigny, 2008, pp. 26, 244, no. 38, ill. p. 107 (color).
Manuel Jover. "Étude d'une oeuvre: 'La Montagne' de Balthus." Connaissance des arts no. 662 (July–August 2008), pp. 129–30, ill. (color).
Sabine Rewald. Balthus: Cats and Girls. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2013, p. 159 n. 14.
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