Nude in Front of a Mantel

Artist: Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) (French, Paris 1908–2001 Rossinière)

Date: 1955

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 75 x 64.5 in. (190.5 x 163.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Robert Lehman Collection, 1975

Accession Number: 1975.1.155

Rights and Reproduction: © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


For Balthus, the female sitter was a lifelong subject— whether daydreaming, reclining, or sleeping, often nude or partly clothed, and typically charged with erotic content. Nude Before a Mirror is striking for the sculptural monumentality of the model and the soft, silvery light that bathes the figure and fills the room. The model’s hieratic pose evokes figures in an ancient Egyptian frieze.