Thursday, December 3, 2020

Balthus and His Mitsou


The Metropolitan Museum of Art 
during a visit in 2014

In 2014 I went with my sister to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and there was a wonderful Balthus exhibit taking place.  You can read a little about the exhibit HERE .  Part of the exhibit contained 40 drawings that Balthus did as a child of his found and lost cat named Mitsou, and depicted the story of her life with him.  The drawings were displayed in chronological order and in one of them there is a sad little boy, carrying a lantern, searching for his lost beloved cat.  A friend of his mother was so moved by the drawings that he published them into a book which was on display at this exhibit.  No photography was allowed, but if you search online you will find a photo of the book and some of the drawings.  

I left the exhibit promising my sister that my next cat would be named Mitsou, in honor of Balthus as a boy, the loss he endured, and in memory of this wonderful exhibit in New York.  As luck would have it, a short time later, a friend offered me a sweet grey and white kitten and the name Mitsou fit her perfectly.

My Mitsou posed for this painting I did below, but I painted her black and white, preferring a strong black and white contrast.  And now as I type this, I am wondering if the black and white choice was more of a subconscious decision.  A sort of nod to Balthus' black and white drawings of his Mitsou.

A Studious Cat
oil on cradled wood 9x12 inch