Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0004673, Mon, 10 Jan 2000 08:57:59 -0800

Balthus (fwd)
NABOKV-L thanks Wayne Daniels <wdaniels@tpl.toronto.on.ca> for running
down the following bit of info and for his thoughts on it.

You asked me a while back to verify a reference to N as having liked a
painting by Balthus in the collection of Billy Wilder. The intervening
holidays, plus my natural sloth, have made for a very tardy response, but
nevertheless ...

In a book (I'm not sure whether this was the one cited in the original
post) titled On Sunset Boulevard : The Life and Times of Billy Wilder, by
one Ed Sikov, there are two references to N. The second of these does
indeed have Wilder indicating to a work by Balthus, claiming that N liked
it best among those in the director's collection.

Now, I still think (hope) this bears a different interpretation. I do not
by any means share N's seemingly comprehensive dislike of modern painting
(which is what Wilder mostly collected, as I understand the case), but I
prefer to believe that N was merely hinting that he disliked the Balthus
painting the least among those Wilder had on show. This makes N out a
disagreeable guest, certainly, but preserves his taste in painting from
the lapse which is otherwise implied (according to me).

Of course it *is* still possible to invoke the pedophile business, but I
feel my face grow very tired at this and my attention evaporate. It's just
*not* as interesting as some list members seem to think. Again, according
to me.

Wayne Daniels