`Patience'

Difficult to categorize among 20th century artists, Balthus (born in Paris of Polish parents in 1908) is unusual in his fidelity to figurative art. He is known for his paintings of solitary people, often young girls, posed with the awkwardness of early adolescence, and seeming to exist in a world of their own.

While Balthus is not a Surrealist, there is a surreal feeling to his works; Camus wrote, in an essay about him, that he ``stops time.''

In ``Patience'' (the title refers to a one-person game much like solitaire), Balthus uses colors that are subdued and autumnal, heavy creams and brownish beiges; the olive of the skirt is echoed in the curtain, while the brightest note is the rusty apricot of the sweater.

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