By High Talk and Rumors
The first large (over 6 ft x 7 ft) oil on canvas by the French painter Count Balthasar Klossowski de Rola scandalized Paris, along with several other paintings in the artist’s first solo show in 1934. The rendering of a crowded street with deep illusionist space is modern yet not modernist, and the dreamlike atmosphere is surreal but not surrealist. The figures are each caught in an isolated moment, oblivious to the sexual struggle occurring on the left side of the canvas. Balthus averts our own eyes with the diagonal lumber being carried in the center of the painting and with the hands and devices of the passersby.