Balthus, his wife Setsuko and their daughter Harumi arrived in my home village, Rossiniere around 1977-78 and established themselves at the Grand Chalet, historical monument of the region, magnificient wooden chalet built around 1754. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Chalet.
I was 7 and I remember the sight of this Japanese woman bringing her child to the village school for the first time. Setsuko was dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono and looked like coming from another world to the seven year old child that I was. After a while, a few girls of the village, including me, became friend with Harumi and occasionally we played at the Grand Chalet.
I got to look at Balthus’ work only later in life. Art is like poetry I think. I had to mature to be able to access and appreciate.
Balthus, who in the early years of his life, had a strong connection with Rainer Maria Rilke (one of my favorite author), had many artists and poets visiting and walking the paths of my little village.
Balthus died in 2001. His wife Setsuko still lives in Rossiniere.
Grateful for this culture and art enrichment and for my Swiss roots!!