After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Back

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Object Details


After the Bath, Woman Drying Her Back


Edgar Degas (French, 1834 - 1917)






Gelatin silver print


16.5 x 12 cm (6 1/2 x 4 11/16 in.)

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The title of this photograph is more poetic than indicative of an actual scene. The blackened bottom of the model's foot suggests that the photograph was really made before, not after the bath. The casual setting is entirely fictional, and the towel and sofa are mere props for her unusual posturing. The model twists her torso in an unnatural position as the shadows contrive to decapitate her. Her contorted pose is purely formal; she does not appear to be drying any part of her body. Like many artists, Edgar Degas made photographs as preparatory studies for his drawings and paintings. This photograph may have been made in connection with a series of drawings devoted to the motions of women dressing and bathing.

- 1984

Samuel Wagstaff, Jr., American, 1921 - 1987, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Experimental Photography: The Painter-Photographer (July 5, 1989 to October 7, 1990)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 5 to September 26, 1989
  • Williams College Museum of Art, (Williamstown), July 28 to October 7, 1990
Edgar Degas, Photographer (October 8, 1998 to August 22, 1999) (41a)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), October 8, 1998 to January 3, 1999
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 2 to March 28, 1999
  • Bibliothèque nationale de France, (Paris), May 31 to August 22, 1999
Degas at the Getty (March 7 to June 11, 2006) (no cat.)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 7 to June 11, 2006
In Focus: The Nude (October 9, 2007 to February 24, 2008) (no cat.)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 9, 2007 to February 24, 2008
Degas: Master of French Art (December 12, 2008 to March 22, 2009) (98)
  • National Gallery of Australia, (Canberra), December 12, 2008 to March 22, 2009

Edgar Degas, Photographer (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum) fig. 4.

Corcoran Gallery of Art. A Book of Photographs from the Collection of Sam Wagstaff, exh. cat. (New York: Gray Press, 1978) p. 126, left.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007) p. 304, ill.