Astier de Villatte presents the lamp designed by Balthus at the beginning of the 1960s to light up the Villa Médicis.
Jean Clair, in his catalogue of Balthus’ work, describes its origins:
“The approach taken here was similar to that taken in developing the technique to be used in decorating the walls. Here again, Balthus exploited what he found already in situ, adapting it to modern needs. After several attempts, he eventually produced a unique lamp that drew its inspiration from two ancient forms of light-fitting that were already in the palace: one; an old candelabrum in solid iron, the other a remarkably tall monumental nineteenth-century candlestick with a twisted base. For the main structure of his lamp, Balthus used rusty old water tubing, one end of which was fitted with light wood, in part hidden by the shade then added. This glimpse of wood gives the impression of a shaded candle, a subtle allusion to the models on which he based his design.”
Since then, the elegant silhouette and soft light of the Balthus lamp has illuminated all the rooms of the Villa Médicis. Balthus was thereafter to make it the almost exclusive form of lighting in his other homes, the château in Montecalvello and then the Grand Chalet of Rossinière.
In partnership and direct collaboration with Harumi Klossowska de Rola, Astier de Villatte now presents this mythical lamp for the first time.
Lamp numbered and signed (Balthus and Astier de Villatte monograms).
Structure in rusted iron, forged in Italy. Lampshade in resin-parchment, made in Paris.