After the Bath

After the Bath
Artist:
Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917)
Date:
c. 1890-1893 (dated in error by another hand: 1885)
Medium:
Pastel on tracing paper mounted on cardboard 
Dimensions:
26 x 20-3/4 in. (66 x 52.7 cm) 
Credit Line:
The Norton Simon Foundation 
Accession Number:
F.1975.02.P 
Copyright:
© The Norton Simon Foundation 
Not on View
Description

Of Degas’s various recurrent subjects, the one most magically suited to the pastel medium may have been the female nude. By the early 1890s, the artist had all but abandoned oil paints for his nudes, relying instead on powdery, luminous pastels to convey the texture of bare skin. In works like this one, the more persuasively the physical properties of the medium mimic those of the sensuous subject, the more aware we become of the medium itself. Extreme realism here converges with abstraction, a new emphasis on the process of picture-making in the glowing, touched-all-over surface. The signature at lower left is original, but the incorrect date (“85”) is a later addition.

Provenance:

The artist, sold 9 March 1902 for f. 6,000 to;
[Durand-Ruel, stock no. 6950, Paris, transferred 3 December 1912 to];
[Durand-Ruel, New York, stock no. 3585, sold 2 January 1913 for $9,000 to];
Miss Lillie P. Bliss, New York, bequeathed 1931 to;
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, sold May 1942 to;
Mrs. Charles Suydam Cutting, New York and New Jersey.
[Wildenstein & Co., New York].
Benjamin E. Bensinger, Chicago (sale, London, Christie's, 15 April 1975, lot 30, to);
[Somerville & Simpson, London, on behalf of];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

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