Saturday, 27 February 2016

Balthus at the Kunstforum

From the flyer:

For the first time in Austria the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien is presenting a retrospective of the work of Balthasar Klossoski de Rola (1908-2001), called "Balthus", one of the great lone wolves among the painter personalities of the twentieth century.


Wow! I thought. And how quickly I went!


The exhibition did in fact cast light on Balthus's work as my leaflet stated.

Of particular interest to me were the so-called two important paintings. They related to Emily Bronte's wonderful novel Wuthering Heights. 

Gloriously and mysteriously they faced each other across a large space. The heavenly tragical voice of Kate Bush ran through the back of my head like a moorland gale.


But. 

There's always a But.


For some reason it is not permitted to take photographs even without a flash in this museum, despite the fact that one sees no obvious signing to this effect. I only discovered this by chance. The error of my ways during one of my previous visits was the presence of a camera in my hand. . Suddenly I found myself surrounded by the museum's Kunstpolizei. I was firmly ticked off and sternly told to put the offending article away.

Those who take photos with mobile phones appear to go unchallenged.  Perhaps they manage to evade the wandering eye of officialdom if the phone is held to the body. I don't know. And in any case I don't fall into that category of phone user. My device is an idiot proof basic model.

And so as I wandered slowly through the halls I consoled myself that I would be able to purchase a few postcards including the ones bearing pictures of the two important paintings when I eventually passed through the obligatory museum shop on my way to the exit.  Then I would be in a position to discuss with you the relationship of the two important paintings to each other and to one or two of the other paintings.

I was wrong. Mysteriously there were no Balthus postcards on sale.

And that is why dear reader we are not discussing the two important paintings here today.

Perhaps they are on the internet or the museum's website. They will be titled Cathy's Toilette and The Blanchard Children. 

Personally I am now so disappointed that I can't be bothered to look.

In the reverential language of Viennese officialdom: We pray for your understanding. 



Balthus Exhibition open daily: 24.2 - 19.6.2016. 


Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien 
Freyung 8 
Vienna



Admission €11.00 Seniors €8.50





13 comments:

  1. It's ironic that Kate Bush asked people not to take photographs at her concerts. Wuthering Heights is in my top two of favourite books along with Jude The Obscure, one of Rachel's favourites.

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    1. Ha, ha, Dave. That's an irony indeed.

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  2. Strange family of artists the BaLthus brothers. Were there any warning signs that some people may find the work offensive? Perhaps that was why there were no postcards on sale. His brother was even worse.

    Jude the Obscure is indeed one of my favourite books, but I have to be in a certain mood to read it.

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    1. There was nothing that would offend, in my opinion that is. IT WASN'T HRDLICKA! Interesting about the brother. It was mentioned about his preoccupation with de Sade only in passing.

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  3. Officialdom gone mad for the sake of it Gwil.

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    1. Wonder why? People pay a lot of money to see the paintings. There are no postcards on sale. I suspect they hope to sell a few of their hefty catalogues, too heavy to lug around, for hefty prices.

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  4. Ah - museums and their very strange behaviour concerning taking photographs... There are a lot where it is allowed. There are others - and I share your disappointment!! - that don't allow to take them - and the reason isn't obvious. And I see that some guys are using their cellphone - and of course I can do that too - but I think that publishing them (even on a blog) might get you into real trouble - copyright etc. etc.
    And then there a wonderful museums as the C/O in Berlin (photograph museum) who even encourage you to take pictures - bravo!
    There was a Balthus exhibition in 2007 in Cologne - later the Folkwang museum in Essen had planned one, but cancelled it because they feared the child protective services would muster.
    I think the Steidl Verlag has published a catalogue.

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  5. Normally the important works in museums are to be purchased on souvenir postcards at the shop before the exit. The price of the cards, usually one euro apiece, is steep but worthwhile when one has interest and no photography is allowed. Regarding copyright I consider that photographs in newspapers, postcards, publicity leaflets, and other similar articles or images are in the public domain and therefore there is no breach of copyright.

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  6. I don't know about that, Gwil. Photographs in newspapers are certainly protected by copyright. A photograph is the property of the photographer unless he has agreed to a work-for-hire status, in which case it belongs to whoever paid to have it taken. In the US and UK, the same copyright regulations apply to photographs as to written works. Use of a photograph on a blog is probably acceptable under "fair use".

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    1. Same here. Son and daughter-in-law studied law and did a lot on copyright - and when I wrote my book the publisher was not amused to find out to whom he had to pay for simple quotations (e.g. from Astrid Lindgren, can you imagine that? Of course you can try to write that in indirect speech). Quotes are allowed in a work of science - but a blog seldom is that. (On the other hand: they rarely look it up - but that is as if one hopes not getting caught).

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    2. Madness. It all depends on quotation marks. The mind boggles. David Bernstein in his poem At the Natural History Museum said something to the effect that someone should stop crying and drink their juice and stop being a wise ass and mommy would come. Just about sums it up I think.

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  7. I don't know about that, Gwil. Photographs in newspapers are certainly protected by copyright. A photograph is the property of the photographer unless he has agreed to a work-for-hire status, in which case it belongs to whoever paid to have it taken. In the US and UK, the same copyright regulations apply to photographs as to written works. Use of a photograph on a blog is probably acceptable under "fair use".

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    1. Thanks for that clarification Shawn. On a blog such as mine I think the term 'fair use' is appropriate since the photographs such as the one above are being used for educational purposes and I'm not receiving any monetary reward or other gain. A photograph is in the public domain when a percentage of people see it and it becomes established as an icon. At least that's how any reasonable person would see it I would think. It's a tricky subject and full of pitfalls. And of course different countries have different rules. Many according to the whims of ones dictator no doubt.

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