Title of Artwork: “Girl and Cat”
Artwork by Balthus
Year Created 1937
Summary of Girl and Cat
Many of Balthus’s early paintings were studies of a young girl who lived next door, Therese Blanchard. She was either shown alone or with her cat. In Girl and Cat (1937), the Therese in the movie shows a sense of knowing that is far beyond her young years.
All About Girl and Cat
She also shows that she has a lot of mixed feelings about herself and the situation she is in. Her eyes look like they challenge the viewer, but they also look a little off centre, like the girl isn’t as sure as she appears to be. There is a moral question: is the viewer looking in on a private moment, or does her pose show that she wants to be looked at?
Considering the time and how much attention modern art paid to the disenfranchised modern man after World War I, this young girl and her ennui can show how the artist tried to mix modern themes of alienation with more traditional figurative painting styles, like this.
When a cat is in a room, it looks off into the distance, which could mean there is another person in the room. While he stands guard over his young nymphette mistress, he, too, is unsure about what is going on in the room. The whole scene shows a sense of disaffection, with each actor playing his or her part while only half-knowing what the bigger picture of social relationships here means.