Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Mountain

Artist:
Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) (French, Paris 1908–2001 Rossinière)
Date:
1936–37
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
98 x 144 in. (248.9 x 365.8 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gifts of Mr. and Mrs. Nate B. Spingold and Nathan Cummings, Rogers Fund and The Alfred N. Punnett Endowment Fund, by exchange, and Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1982
Accession Number:
1982.530
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 900
Painting in his austere Paris studio, Balthus imagined and depicted in this monumental canvas an escape from the congested city to the open landscape of Niederhorn Mountain, near Beatenberg, Switzerland. A hiking party of seven explores the mountainous terrain together, yet the figures are strangely isolated from one another, a persistent characteristic of Balthus’s work. The figure’s disparate poses and activities—walking, stretching, kneeling, and sleeping—heighten their detachment and enhance the scale and remoteness of the landscape. Invoking life in summer, The Mountain is one in an abandoned series of four canvases meant to symbolize the seasons.
the artist (until 1938; sold in November 1938 to Matisse); Pierre Matisse, New York (1938–at least 1973); private collection, Vaduz (by 1975–82; sold through Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, to MMA)

New York. Pierre Matisse Gallery. "Balthus: Paintings and Drawings," March 17–April 8, 1939, no. 1 (as "La Montagne 'Summer'").

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Large Scale Modern Paintings," April 1–May 4, 1947, no catalogue (checklist no. 18; as "The Mountain [Summer]," 1937, lent by the Pierre Matisse Gallery).

New York. Pierre Matisse Gallery. "Balthus," March 15–April 3, 1949, no. 12.

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Balthus," December 19, 1956–February 3, 1957, no. 7 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Pierre Matisse, New York).

New York. Pierre Matisse Gallery. "Balthus: Paintings 1929–1961," March 1962, no. 5 (as "La Montagne," 1937).

Cambridge, Mass. New Gallery, Hayden Library, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Balthus," February 10–March 2, 1964, no. 6 (as "La Montagne," 1937, lent by the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York).

Paris. Musée des Arts Décoratifs. "Balthus," May 12–June 27, 1966, no. 2 (lent by Pierre Matisse).

Knokke-le-Zoute. Casino Communal. "Balthus," July–September 1966, no. 2.

London. Tate Gallery. "Balthus," October 4–November 10, 1968, no. 6 (dated 1936; lent by a private collection, New York).

Marseilles. Musée Cantini. "Balthus," July–September 1973, no. 4 (as "La Montagne," 1937, lent by Pierre Matisse, New York).

Sydney. Art Gallery of New South Wales. "Modern Masters: Manet to Matisse," April 10–May 11, 1975, no. 2 (dated 1937; lent by a private collection, Vaduz).

Melbourne. National Gallery of Victoria. "Modern Masters: Manet to Matisse," May 28–June 22, 1975, no. 2.

New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Modern Masters: Manet to Matisse," August 4–September 1, 1975, no. 2.

Venice. Biennale. "Balthus," May 29–September 29, 1980, no. 2 (dated 1937).

Paris. Centre Georges Pompidou. "Les réalismes 1919–1939," December 17, 1980–April 20, 1981, unnumbered cat. (p. 213; as "La Montagne," 1936, lent by a private collection, Geneva).

Paris. Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne. "Balthus," November 5, 1983–January 23, 1984, no. 15.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Balthus," February 29–May 13, 1984, no. 14.

Kyoto Municipal Museum. "Balthus," June 17–July 22, 1984, no. 2 (as "La Montagne [L'été]," 1937).

Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne. "Balthus," May 29–August 29, 1993, unnumbered cat. (frontispiece; as "La Montagne," 1937).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Painters in Paris: 1895–1950," March 8–December 31, 2000, extended to January 14, 2001, unnumbered cat. (pp. 108–9; dated 1937).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Balthus Remembered," March 27–May 27, 2001, no catalogue.

Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," September 14–November 24, 2002, no. 64.

Tokyo. Bunkamura Museum of Art. "Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," December 7, 2002–March 9, 2003, no. 64.

Cologne. Museum Ludwig. "Balthus: Aufgehobene Zeit. Gemälde and Zeichnungen 1932–1960 / Balthus: Time Suspended. Paintings and Drawings 1932–1960," August 18–November 4, 2007, no. 11.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009, online catalogue.

Pierre-Jean Jouve. "Balthus." La Nef (September 1944), p. 144 (reprinted in Ref. Régnier 1983, p. 58).

James Thrall Soby. Balthus. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1956, pp. 5, 7, 35, no. 7, ill. p. 20, dates it 1937.

Gaëtan Picon. Balthus. Exh. cat., Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Paris, 1966, pp. 14–15, 17, dates it 1937.

Jean Clair. "Balthus ou les métempsycoses." La Nouvelle Revue Française no. 163 (July 1966) [reprinted in Ref. Régnier 1983, p. 106].

John Russell. Balthus. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1968, pp. 13–15, 37, no. 6, ill. pp. 15, 49, dates it 1936.

John Russell in Modern Masters: Manet to Matisse. Ed. William S. Lieberman. Exh. cat., Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. New York, 1975, pp. 192–93, 262, no. 2, ill.

Jean Leymarie. Balthus. Geneva, 1978, colorpl. 7, dates it 1935–37; locates it in a private collection.

Yves Bonnefoy. "L'invention de Balthus." L'Improbable et autres essais. Rev. and enl. ed. (1st ed., 1959). Paris, 1980, p. 48.

Jean Leymarie in Balthus. Venice, 1980, pp. 8–9, 87, colorpls. 4–7 (overall and details).

Jean Leymarie in La Biennale di Venezia. Section of Visual Arts: General Catalogue. Exh. cat., Biennale. Venice, 1980, pp. 214–15, no. 2, ill.

Jean Leymarie. Balthus. 2nd enl. ed. (1st ed., 1979). New York, 1982, pp. 31, 34, 36,151, ill. pp. 32–33 (color), 146, dates it 1935–37; locates it in a private collection.

Lisa M. Messinger. "Twentieth Century Art." The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1982–1983. New York, 1983, p. 60, ill. (color).

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola. Balthus. London, 1983, p. 94, colorpl. 10–11 (overall and detail), dates it 1935–37; locates it still in a private collection.

Gérard Régnier, ed. Balthus. Exh. cat., Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne. Paris, 1983, p. 138, no. 15, ill. pp. 139, (color), 346, no. 39.

Kathleen Howard, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 1983, p. 413, ill. (color).

Marc Le Bot in Balthus. Ed. Gérard Régnier. Exh. cat., Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d'art moderne. Paris, 1983, p. 301.

Wolfgang Sauré. "Pariser Ausstellungen: Balthus." Das Kunstwerk 37 (April 1984), p. 45.

Jacques Paul Dauriac. "Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou. Exposition: Balthus." Pantheon 42 (April/May/June 1984), p. 186.

Jean Leymarie. Metamorphosen des Eros. Essay über Balthus. Munich, 1984, pp. 87, fig. 66, dates it 1935–37.

Sabine Rewald. Balthus. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, pp. 23, 82, no. 14, fig. 25 (detail), ill. pp. 82–83 (color), dates it 1937.

William S. Lieberman. 20th Century Art: Selections from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Vol. 1, Painting: 1905–1945. New York, 1986, pp. 6, 52–53, 63, ill. (color, overall and detail).

Kay Larson. "The Met Goes Modern: Bill Lieberman's Brave New Wing." New York Magazine 19 (December 15, 1986), p. 46.

Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, pp. 148–49, colorpl. 126, date it 1937.

Sabine Rewald. "Balthus: Erotik Pür." Pan no. 11 (1990), p. 33.

Barbara Burn, ed. Masterpieces of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 303, ill. (color), dates it 1937.

Jörg Zutter in Balthus. Ed. Jörg Zutter. Exh. cat., Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne. Geneva, 1993, pp. 11–13, 16, 21, 24, ill. (color, frontispiece, front and back covers).

Jean Starobinski in Balthus. Ed. Jörg Zutter. Exh. cat., Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne. Geneva, 1993, p. 71.

Kathleen Howard, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 2nd ed. (1st ed., 1983). New York, 1994, p. 439, no. 15, ill. (color).

Claude Roy. Balthus. Paris, 1996, pp. 17, 133–34, 177, ill. p. 247 (color), calls it "La Montagne (L'Été)" and dates it 1937.

Jean Leymarie in Balthus. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Madrid, 1996, p. 18.

Antoni Tàpies in Balthus. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Madrid, 1996, p. 54.

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola. Balthus. New York, 1996, colorpls. 15-16 (overall and detail), dates it 1935–37.

Sabine Rewald. "Balthus's Magic Mountain." Burlington Magazine 139 (September 1997), pp. 622, 625–28, figs. 54 (color overall), 57, 63 (details).

Michael Kimmelman. Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere. New York, 1998, p. 95.

Virginie Monnier in Virginie Monnier and Jean Clair. Balthus: Catalogue Raisonné of the Complete Works. Paris, 1999, pp. 132–33, no. P102, ill., calls it "La Montagne (L'Été)" and dates it 1937.

Jean Clair in Virginie Monnier and Jean Clair. Balthus: Catalogue Raisonné of the Complete Works. Paris, 1999, pp. 51–52, ill. (color), calls it "The Mountain (The Summer)".

Grace Glueck. "When One City Was the Heart of Art's Youth." New York Times (March 10, 2000), p. E39, ill.

William S. Lieberman. "Les Peintres de Paris à New York." Connaissance des arts no. 578 (December 2000), p. 130.

William S. Lieberman in Picasso and the School of Paris: Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. [Tokyo], 2002, pp. 119–20, 128–29, 166, no. 64, ill. (color), dates it 1937.

Sabine Rewald. "Balthus's Mountain Guide Revisited." Metropolitan Museum Journal 37 (2002), pp. 315–19, figs. 1–4 (overall and details).

Sabine Rewald. Balthus: Time Suspended. Paintings and Drawings 1932–1960. Exh. cat., Museum Ludwig. Munich, 2007, pp. 29, 56, 62–65, 153, 158, no. 11, ill. (color).

Jean Clair in Balthus: 100e anniversaire. Ed. Jean Clair and Dominique Radrizzani. Exh. cat., Fondation Pierre Gianadda. Martigny, 2008, p. 16, fig. 5, calls it "La Montagne (L'Eté)" and dates it 1937.

Jean Starobinski in Balthus: 100e anniversaire. Ed. Jean Clair and Dominique Radrizzani. Exh. cat., Fondation Pierre Gianadda. Martigny, 2008, p. 28.

Gary Tinterow. "The Modern Era." Philippe de Montebello and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977–2008. New York, 2009, p. 130, fig. 146 (color).

Sabine Rewald. The American Matisse: The Dealer, His Artists, His Collection. The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection. New York, 2009, p. 23 n. 46.

Ken Johnson. "Perfect Poise, Pulled From Jaws of Distortion." New York Times (December 31, 2010), p. C26.

Jed Perl. "What Balthus Can Tell Us About Our Summer of Disquietude." New Republic (August 17, 2011), ill. (color detail).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York, 2012, p. 419, ill. (color).

Sabine Rewald. Balthus: Cats and Girls. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2013, p. 159 nn. 14, 26.



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