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Lost Balthus painting found in Switzerland

Balthus was best known for his provocative paintings of young women

(Keystone Archive)

A lost work of art by the late French artist, Balthus, has been discovered in a private collection in Switzerland.

The Musée Jenisch in the lakeside town of Vevey said that the 1930s painting, "Joueuse de Diabolo", had reappeared.

"A major work by Balthus, given up for lost, has reappeared. Such a discovery is an event," the museum said in a statement.

The artwork depicts a girl in a dance-like pose playing a game. Balthus gave it to his friend, Emo Bardeleben, who left Switzerland for New York in 1932.

The current owner - who wishes to remain anonymous - showed the oil painting to the museum's experts, who have said it will be included in a forthcoming exhibition of 107 paintings and watercolours by Balthus.

"Without any doubt it is absolutely a Balthus painting. He signed and dated it on the back. Six preliminary drawings exist and it is also documented in his letters to his first wife, Antoinette de Watteville," said museum curator, Laurence Rippstein.

Born Count Balthazar Klossowski de Rola of a Polish family living in Paris, Balthus was best known for his provocative paintings of young women.

He was considered one of the finest realist painters of the 20th Century, and died at the age of 92 in his home at Rossinière in Switzerland. He lived in the 18th Century chalet in canton Vaud for over 20 years with his Japanese wife, Setsuko.


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