Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) (French, 1908–2001), from the series
Mitsou, 1919; Black ink on paper 6 x 4 3⁄4 in.; Private collection © Balthus

When Balthasar Klossowski was ten, his cat, Mitsou, went missing. In the case of most children, the story might have ended there. Balthus, as he came to be known, exhibiting the kind of exceptionalism that would characterize his whole life, produced a series of forty drawings about her that remains the most extraordinary e ...