After the Bath

Object Details

Title:

After the Bath

Artist/Maker(s):

Edgar Degas (French, 1834 - 1917)

Culture:

French

Date:

about 1895

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

65.7 x 82.2 cm (25 7/8 x 32 3/8 in.)

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Women can never forgive me; they hate me, they feel that I am disarming them. I show them without their coquetry.

Edgar Degas often depicted women in awkward and inelegant poses, eliciting sharp criticism. His comment above makes clear that he was aware of this response to his work. An early practitioner of Realism, Degas captured women engaged in mundane tasks–laundresses ironing, prostitutes waiting for clients, and, most frequently, women bathing.

The intimate subject of this painting, a woman bathing in a private interior, is one that invites voyeurism. Degas depicted the woman lying on a divan, while her maid dries or combs her hair. With her back pushed to the extreme foreground of the images, she seems to hold the viewer at bay. Bracing herself with her left arm, the woman uncomfortably raises her left leg against the edge of the bathtub. Such unnatural poses have perplexed critics of Degas's time, as they do viewers today. Some see these poses as an attempt to depict human movement not in idealized forms, but in ordinary, private behavior. Others see such representations of women as misogynistic.

Provenance
about 1895 - 1918

Edgar Degas, French, 1834 - 1917 [sold, Degas sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 6-8, 1918, lot 53, to Jacques Seligmann, Durand-Ruel, and other dealers]

1918 - 1921

Jacques Seligmann, 1858 - 1923 [sold, Seligmann sale, American Art Association, New York, January 27, 1921, lot 7, through Durand-Ruel & Cie. (Paris, France) to Albert Barnes]

1921 - 1935

Dr. Albert Barnes, 1872 - 1951 (Merion Station, Pennsylvania), by partial exchange with Galerie E. Bignou for Paul Cézanne's Four Bathers, May 24, 1935.

1935 -

Galerie E. Bignou (Paris, France; New York, New York)

by 1937 - 1939

Ambroise Vollard, 1867 - 1939, by inheritance within the Vollard family.

1939 - 1985

Vollard Family, sold to Paul Josefowitz, 1985.

1985 - 1995

Paul Josefowitz (Switzerland) [sold, Sotheby's, New York, November 8, 1995, lot 35, to a private collector]

1995 - 2001

Private Collection (New York, New York), sold through Alex Apsis (New York, New York), to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001.

Exhibitions
Degas (March to April 1937)
  • Musée de l'Orangerie, (Paris), March to April, 1937, (Cat. 54)
Degas: Images of Women (September 21 to December 31, 1989)
  • Tate Gallery - Liverpool, September 21 to December 31, 1989, (Cat. 1)
From Manet to Gauguin: Masterpieces from Swiss Private Collections (June 30 to October 8, 1995)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), 1995, (Cat. 15)
Degas at the Getty (March 7 to June 11, 2006)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 7 to June 11, 2006, (Cat. no cat.)
Degas and the Nude (October 9, 2011 to July 1, 2012)
  • Musée d'Orsay, (Paris), March 12 to July 1, 2012, (Cat. 210)
Bibliography

Galerie Georges Petit, Paris. Catalogue des tableaux, pastels et dessins par Edgar Degas et provenant de son atelier. May 6-8, 1918, p. 31, lot 53, ill.

American Art Association, New York. The Notable Private Collection of Paintings and Pastels by the Great French Master Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas, Formed by the Widely Known Antiquarian Jacques Seligmann of Paris. January 27, 1921, unpaginated, lot 7, ill.

Lemoisne, Paul A. Degas et son oeuvre. 4 vols. (Paris: Paul Brame et C. M. de Hauke, 1946; repr., New York and London: Garland, 1984), vol. 3, pp. 638-39, no. 1104, ill.

Russoli, Franco, and Fiorella Minervino. L'opera completa di Degas (Milan: Rizzoli, 1970), p. 131, no. 990, ill.

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