Autoportrait (1940) by Balthus

Autoportrait - Balthus - 1940 - 2

Artwork Information

MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions44 x 32 cm (17 3/8 x 12 3/8 in)
Art MovementExpressionism
Current LocationPrivate collection
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About Autoportrait

Polish-French modern artist Balthus painted an expressionist self-portrait in 1940, entitled “Still Life with a Figure and Self-portrait.” While Balthus is known for his dreamlike depictions of eroticized pubescent girls, this artwork portrays himself. Self-portrait displays the influence of the Expressionism style as seen with its emotional intensity and bold brushstrokes.

Aside from Self-portrait, several other notable artworks by Balthus include “Standing Girl,” “The Three Sisters,” and “Portrait of a Young Japanese Girl.” In addition to being a painter, he was also a controversial personality among modern artists. He even caused uproar in 2018 due to allegations of sexual misconduct towards minors.

“Le cerisier” (1940) is another oil on board artwork by Balthus that conveys his unconventional subject choices. Known for being provocative, he often involved elements of sexuality in his art. Additionally, while some may see it as an exploration of innocence mixed with corruption as seen in his depiction of young women, others view it as exploitation. Despite differing opinions about his work and persona, there is no denying that Balthus’s contributions were influential in shaping modern art history.

Ultimately, when examining Balthus’s Self-portrait piece from 1940 alongside the rest of his works within their historical context, one can begin to comprehend the complexity behind both the artist’s life and creations.

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