The retrospective dedicated to Balthus is his first exhibition in a Swiss museum since 2008 and the first comprehensive presentation of his work in German-speaking Switzerland, with which the artist had close connections during his life. It presents a selection of around fifty important works, representative of all the phases of Balthus’ artistic research, starting from the main focus of the show, namely the monumental painting Passage du Commerce-Saint-André, on permanent loan to the museum for some time.
The overview highlights Balthus’ original style that made him one of the masters of twentieth-century art. Challenging the current avant-gardes, he managed to create an alternative and personal attitude, which detached from modernism and referred to a wide range of art-historical precursors and sources. The often provocative and contradictory images exhibited highlights his style, now considered almost postmodern and contemporary.
- Balthus, "La Partie de Cartes", 1948-1950, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, © Balthus, Courtesy of Fondation Beyeler