The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has refused to remove their Thérèse Dreaming display. The painting was created by Balthasar "Balthus" Klossowski.
Thérèse Dreaming features a young girl sitting on a chair with her underwear visible. An online petition asking the museum to remove the painting from its display received thousands of support on Monday.
Online Petitions Urge Removal Of 'Thérèse Dreaming'
I put together a petition asking the Met to take down a piece of art that is undeniably romanticizing the sexualization of a child. If you are a part of the #metoo movement or ever think about the implications of art on life, please support this effort. https://t.co/gcCAFDe749
— Mia Merrill (@miazmerrill) November 30, 2017
Mia Merrill, the petition's author, suggested that another painting from the same time period should take the place of Thérèse Dreaming.
The Met Refuses To Take Down 'Thérèse Dreaming'
However, Ken Weine, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, refused to take down the painting. He said that keeping the painting on display paves the way for guests to reflect on today's culture.
According to Weine, visual art is one of the most significant means that people have to reflect on both their past and present.
The National Coalition Against Censorship has also issued a statement in support of the museum's decision to not take down the painting. It stated that there has been a "disturbing" trend regarding the removal of paintings especially when they represent difficult subjects.
"Art can often offer insights into difficult realities, and as such, merits vigorous defense," read the statement.
Despite not receiving a favorable response to her petition, Merrill said that she will look at it as a success if the museum includes a disclaimer below the controversial painting.
Meanwhile, Klossowski's artwork was inspired by his neighbor, Thérèse Blanchard, who was just 12 or 13 at the time the painting was created. The subject of the painting is also featured in a series of 10 other creations together with her brother, Hubert Blanchard and sometimes, with her cat.
Merrill's negative comments about Klossowski's painting are not an isolated case. A review of the painting from 2013 claimed that the artist had an inordinate fixation on girls who have just hit puberty.