I'm very sorry that Balthus is dead

Half a dozen god damn threads on dead racecar driver Dale Earnhart, and nobody’s done anything yet for the recently-expired Balthazzar Klossowski de Rola, buddy of Rilke and Arnaud and one of the wackiest fine artists of the 20th century?

For shame, fellow eradicators of ignorance!

Here, have a look at some of his completely nifty shit:


Unfortunately, this site does not include an image of “The Guitar Lesson,” Balthus’ only admittedly pornographic and blasphemous painting.

Rest in peace, Balthazzar Klossowski de Rola!

Hang on, this one should work…


Nifty shit INDEED.

I’m ashamed to say that I knew very little about Balthus (other than he existed; he was an artist; he was influenced by Bonnard) until I saw a brief obit on the news yesterday. Thanks for the link.

I’m even more sorry that NPR’s obituary of him had as an art expert a whiney male-bashing art professor who used the opportunity to denigrate Balthus as a boring purveyor of kiddie porn (I guess this means a Hans Belmer retrospective is out of the question). Sorry your middle-class sensibilites were wounded, you academic hack, but that was the idea in the first place. Couldn’t they have called Robert Hughes?

Thanks for weighing in, guys!

(Note to Self: NEXT time you feel like starting a thread about modern art, dummy, title it Anal Sex Antics.)

Interesting piece about the big B in today’s NY Times, written by Michael Kimmerman:

“As an artist, he was a brilliant, painstaking technician whose strange fairy-tale images, held together by a clever geometry, were bathed in a peculiar granular light. This is all that really matters…the writer Claude Roy once likened him to a cat: ‘brilliant, but in that very brilliance, reserved, skittishly secret, courteously open yet hermetically closed.’”

Thank you for introducing me to another unknown (to me) figure of the art world Ukulele Ike. I will browse through the selection of his oeuvre available at the ssite you mentioned.

P.S. Isn’t anyone crying for the singing cowgirl Dale Evans?

…or the Singing Frog, Charles Trenet?

(ducks and runs)

Ukulele Ike, I hope you’re not trying to make fun of that great singer/songwriter, “Le Fou Chantant”. His death marked the end of an era of french songwriting of which very few practicioners are still alive.

La mer
Qu’on voit danser le long des golfes clairs
A des reflets d’argent
La mer
Des reflets changeants
Sous la pluie

No, no disrespect intended. I was perusing the daily obituaries just before reading your post, and I’d noticed that an awful lot of interesting folks had bitten the Big Tamale recently…Trenet; Frank Gilbreth, Jr., author of CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN; Howard Koch, the producer of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and AIRPLANE!; T. Geoffrey Bibby, the discoverer of Gilgamesh’s island.

Your “singing cowgirl” observation led irresistably to a “singing frog” image. No disrespect meant to the French, either, although “frog” makes for a more amusing vocalist image than most other terms of nationalistic abuse.

Hey, I’ll swap you three of my Aznavours for two of your Piafs.

– Ukulele “Sank Heaven for Little Girls” Ike

Oh come on Uke, you know I love you too much to be mad at you! (gives Ukulele Ike a slap on the rump) But I do have to stand up for Mr. Trenet since I just read a commentary (written by a french journalist! the horror) who claimed that he was a derivative crooner. Sure, Charles might not seem hip to people who preferred Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Brel or Juliette Greco, but his songs were well-written and witty. (P.S. Kudos on the Aznavour reference, he’s another worthy singer unknown in the USA, though he’s not amongst my favourites.)

The first thought in my mind, of course, was of Michigan J. Frog, who is now reduced to promoting mindless shows on the frog network. Even cartoon characters have to do shmuck work when they fall on hard times.

As far as dissing the French, feel free. Those cheese-eating surrender monkeys! (As Groundskeeper Willie calls them). But don’t step near that swiss border.

T. Geoffrey Bibby?

I love Balthus’ work. He was my favorite living artist, but I guess I’ll have to find another one now. I have only seen 2 of his paintings with my own eyes, and only 5 or 6 others in various art books, but I loved every one of them. His ability to blend innocence and sexuality is fascinating, making pictures that are simultaneously sexy and creepy. I did not hear of his death until now, and I am sorry that he is dead. I hope now I will beable to buy a book of his works, something I have looked for on many occasions…

Of course, had I read the linked web page first, I would have seen four book offerings. I can be such a stupid dickhead sometimes.

I very much enjoyed it.