Balthus, 1933, The Street
From the Museum of Modern Art:
The Street, Balthus’s first large painting, was one of several that scandalized audiences when it was included in the artist’s earliest solo exhibition, in Paris in 1934. Balthus rendered each of the figures in his scene of Paris’s rue Bourbon-le-Chateau frozen mid-movement; none of them seem to notice the aggressive sexual struggle underway at the painting’s far left. Balthus eschewed stylistic categorization, but The Street was of great interest to Surrealist artists for its rendering of a crowded street as an uncanny site of mental isolation and for its exploration of sexual taboos.