Ambroise Vollard, Paris
Martin Fabiani, Paris
The Lefevre Gallery (Alex Reid & Lefevre), London (March 1951)
A. Byron, London (acquired from the above)
E. Teltsch, London
Private Collection (acquired in 1963 and sold: Sotheby's, London, February 5, 2001, lot 4)
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie, Degas, 1937, no. 182
London, The Lefevre Gallery (Alex Reid & Lefevre), From Géricault to Renoir, 1951, no. 13
Bern, Kunstmuseum, Degas, 1951-52, no. 68
Paul-André Lemoisne, Degas et son oeuvre, Paris, 1946, vol. III, no. 1392, illustrated p. 807
No other subjects in Degas' oeuvre are as visually enticing and seductive as his bathers. These voyeuristic scenes of nude women, pampering themselves at their toilettes, have earned their place among the most desirable images in the history of modern art. At the turn of the century Degas devoted his production almost exclusively to these intimate depictions so that he could study the contours of the female form at close proximity. Many of the models for these compositions were the young dancers from the ballet, who were now invited to pose for long hours in the drafty confines of Degas' studio. No matter how strenuous these sessions were for his models, their discomfort is never evident in these depictions. In this sensuous pastel from 1900-1905, Degas depicts the nude in the intimate act of drying and stretching herself after her bath. The pose accentuates the elongation of the figure's spine and the suppleness of her flesh, and the colors that he has selected invest the atmosphere with a sense of warmth.
Robert Gordon and Andrew Forge have written the following about these pastels: "By far the greatest number of the bathers are seen from behind, and the face is concealed or turned away in those that are not... . The dominant theme is the back: the body seen at its furthest remove from reciprocal address. As the subject of the bathers continues even the notion of the keyhole falls away, and Degas crosses the threshold to a point far beyond ironic audiencehood. The great series of torsos of [...] women who dry themselves are viewed from close up, no longer spied out from a distance. Closer by far to sculpture than to illustration, their backs occupy the center of the picture and impart a corporeal wholeness to its entire surface" (Robert Gordon & Andrew Forge, Degas, New York, 1988, p. 240).
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale