Nude Woman Drying Herself (Femme au Tub)
On View: European Art Galleries, 5th floor
Rather than posing his models for bathing compositions, Edgar Degas simply asked them to wash themselves in a studio basin so that he could observe their natural movements. Though at this time baths were more common among sex workers than bourgeois women and this painting recalls some of the artist’s brothel subjects, it is unlikely that Degas meant to attach any particular identity to this figure.
The image is thought to be the underdrawing for an ambitious but unfinished painting, and therefore provides insight into Degas’s working process. First using brushes and cloths to establish broad outlines and tonal relationships in monochrome, he would then add color.
Oil on canvas
59 3/8 x 84 1/8 in. (150.8 x 213.7 cm)
frame: 67 5/8 x 93 1/8 x 4 3/8 in., 198 lb. (171.8 x 236.5 x 11.1 cm, 89.81kg) (show scale)
Stamped lower right: "Degas" (Lugt 658)
Carll H. de Silver Fund
May 6-7, 1918, purchased from the artist’s estate at Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, France, no. 36 by Marcel Bing, Yamanaka & Co., New York, NY; 1931, purchased from Yamanaka & Co. by the Brooklyn Museum.
Edgar Degas (Paris, France, 1834–1917, Paris, France). Nude Woman Drying Herself (Femme au Tub), ca. 1884-1886. Oil on canvas, 59 3/8 x 84 1/8 in. (150.8 x 213.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Carll H. de Silver Fund, 31.813 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 31.813_PS9.jpg)
overall, 31.813_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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