Exhibitions: Four Bathers by Degas and Bonnard

Bonnard began his own bathing series featuring full-length bathtubs—a luxury in French homes at the time—with two lithographs of The Bath, produced around 1925 for the publisher Edmond Frappé. In this version, Bonnard clearly nods to Degas’s inventions—a direct approach to the naked female form captured from a high vantage point. The bather has been identified as Maria (“Marthe”) Boursin, a pretty model Bonnard met in Paris in 1893. By 1925 Bonnard and Marthe were married and had settled in a villa on the French Riviera. Marthe suffered from a skin malady that required long soaks in their newly installed bathtub, shown here.