Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Lelia Caetani

Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) (French, Paris 1908–2001 Rossinière)
Oil on canvas
45 1/2 x 34 1/2 in. (115.6 x 87.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, 2011
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 902
By 1935, when Marguerite Caetani, Princess Bassiano, commissioned this portrait of her daughter Lelia, Balthus had grown tired and resentful of the painting commissions that were his only source of income. Depicted in the elegant Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Lelia is unfashionably dressed and appears considerately older than her twenty-two years. Her limbs are elongated and she dwarfs her surroundings, awkwardly towering over the trees and lamppost. Balthus later called his stylized, unflattering, and even bizarre portraits his "monsters."
Inscription: Signed, dated, and inscribed (on reverse): Lelia/ Caetani Balthus 1935
Marguerite Chapin Caetani, Princess Bassano, Paris (commissioned from the artist in 1935–d. 1963); her daughter, Lelia Caetani, Rome (1963–d. 1977); her husband, The Honorable Hubert Howard, Rome (1977–86; his sale, Sotheby's, New York, November 18, 1986, no. 47, sold to Matisse); Pierre Matisse, New York (1986–d. 1989); his widow, Maria-Gaetana Matisse, née von Spreti, New York (1989–d. 2001; sale, Christie's, New York, May 8, 1991, no. 30, bought in); Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Foundation, New York (2002–15; jointly with MMA, 2011–15; their gift to MMA)

New York. Pierre Matisse Gallery. "Balthus Paintings," March 21–April 16, 1938, no. 5 or no. 6.

Tokyo Station Gallery. "Balthus," November 3, 1993–January 30, 1994, no. 3.

Hong Kong Museum of Art. "Balthus," May 5–June 4, 1995, no. 3.

The Palace Museum, Beijing. "Balthus," June 24–July 28, 1995, no. 3.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum. "Balthus," August 12–October 1, 1995, no. 3.

Madrid. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. "Balthus," January 30–April 1, 1996, unnumbered cat.

Venice. Palazzo Grassi. "Balthus," September 9, 2001–January 6, 2002, no. 48.

Paris. Mona Bismarck Foundation. "Pierre Matisse, passeur passionné: Un marchand d'art et ses artistes," October 20, 2005–January 14, 2006, unnumbered cat. (p. 92).

Museo Picasso Málaga. "La Colección Pierre y Maria-Gaetana Matisse en The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York," March 26–June 24, 2007, no. 2.

Cologne. Museum Ludwig. "Balthus: Aufgehobene Zeit. Gemälde and Zeichnungen, 1932 – 1960," August 18–November 4, 2007, no. 6.

Rome. Scuderie del Quirinale. "Balthasar Klossowski de Rola - BALTHUS," October 24, 2015–January 31, 2016, unnumbered cat. (p. 39; as "Lelia Caetani [Jeune femme dans un parc]").

Kunstforum Wien. "Balthus: Balthasar Klossowski de Rola," February 24–June 19, 2016, unnumbered cat. (p. 97; as "Lelia Caetani [Junge Frau in einem Garten]").

Sabine Rewald. Balthus. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, pp. 34, 36, fig. 55.

Stanislas Klossowski de Rola. Balthus. New York, 1996, p. 154, pl. 14.

Virginie Monnier and Jean Clair, ed. Balthus: Catalogue Raisonné of the Complete Works. New York, 2000, p. 125, no. P82, ill., as "Lelia Caetani (Jeune femme dans un parc)".

Sabine Rewald with Virginie Monnier. Balthus, Time Suspended: Paintings and Drawings, 1932-1960. Exh. cat.Munich, 2007, pp. 52–53, no. 6, ill.

Sabine Rewald. The American Matisse: The Dealer, His Artists, His Collection. The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection. New York, 2009, pp.28-29, 149, ill.

Camille Viéville in Balthus. Exh. cat., Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome. Verona, 2015, pp. 65, 275, ill. p. 39 (color).

Camille Viéville in Balthus: Balthasar Klossowski de Rola. Ed. Evelyn Benesch and Cécile Debray. Exh. cat., Kunstforum Wien. Vienna, 2016, pp. 89, 243, ill. p. 97 (color).

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