Monday, November 30, 2015

Balthus Documentary

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under videos

50 minute 1997 Omnibus (TV Series) Documentary Balthus the Painter with interview footage of Balthus
Directed by Mark Kidel, Produced by Emma Crichton-Miller

See also the film:
From Wikipedia:

Balthus Through the Looking-Glass (French: Balthus de l’autre côté du miroir) is a 1996 French documentary film directed by Damian Pettigrew on the French painter Balthus.

The feature length documentary highlights the painter’s complex creative process with rare footage of the artist at work in his studio in the Swiss mountain village of Rossinière. Conversations with Balthus and his wife Setsuko, his daughter Harumi, his sons Stanislaus and Thadée, interviews with art critics Jean Leymarie, Jean Clair, Pierre Rosenberg, and James Lord, and with French painter François Rouan (who often assisted Balthus during his tenure at the Villa Medici), contribute to form a psychological portrait of a secretive and controversial artist.
Also featured are photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Irving Penn, and much unpublished material. The film was shot in Super 16 over a 12-month period in Switzerland, Italy, France, and the Moors of England.

Wikepedia Link


Excerpt from the film BALTHUS: THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, a Facets Video release. Directed by Damian Pettigrew. For more info or to order this film ($39.95), visit or contact

Facets Multi-Media is a non-profit media arts organization founded in Chicago in 1975, and dedicated to making cinema accessible to all through film preservation, distribution, presentation, and education. For more information, visit

Award-winning director Damian Pettigrew (Fellini: I’m a Born Liar) offers this definitive portrait of Balthus, a modern artist whose work was nonetheless out of step with most modern movements. His huge canvases with their thickly applied paint feature dreamy adolescent girls in enigmatic poses, resulting in an erotically charged and oddly disorienting style. Pettigrew’s documentary highlights the painter’s complex creative process as he films the artist at work in his studio in the Swiss mountains. Famous friends and family members bare witness to the great artist’s life in exclusive interviews, accompanied by photos by such luminaries as Henri Cartier-Bresson and Irving Penn.

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3 Responses to “Balthus Documentary”
  1. William R Moore says:

    Thanks for posting this documentary. I was aware of his paintings but knew nothing much more. I was taken by his comment on his lack of interest in the personal: ” Only the things we share are interesting”.

  2. I remember see this when it was on British TV. Unfortunately it would be virtually impossible to show it now in the UK as we are in the throes of a paedophile witch hunt, I visied MoMA in New York a couple of years ago and saw the large paintings they have. Unfortunately we have no significant Balthus paintings in England although the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art has “Getting Up”.

  3. jeff says:

    Saw this headline on FB:German museum cancels Balthus show after critics cry pedophilia
    I think viewing his work is getting almost impossible.

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