Thérèse Dreaming

Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) French

Not on view

Balthus’s model, Thérèse Blanchard, appears—as the title of this work suggests—unaware of her surroundings and lost in thought. Blanchard was about twelve or thirteen when the artist painted this canvas. She would figure in at least nine other compositions, either alone or with her cat or her brother. Balthus, like countless modern artists, believed the subject of the child to be a source of raw spirit, not yet molded by societal expectations. Many early twentieth‑century avant‑garde artists, from Paul Gauguin to Edvard Munch to Pablo Picasso, also viewed adolescent sexuality as a potent site of psychological vulnerability as well as lack of inhibition, and they projected these subjective interpretations into their work. While it may be unsettling to our eyes today, Thérèse Dreaming draws on this history.

#1910. Thérèse Dreaming

Thérèse Dreaming, Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) (French, Paris 1908–2001 Rossinière), Oil on canvas

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