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Nude Woman Drying Herself (Femme au Tub)

Edgar Degas

European Art

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.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
  • Place Made: France
  • DATES ca. 1884–1886
    DIMENSIONS 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)
    MARKINGS Stamped lower right: "Degas" (Lugt 658)
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    CREDIT LINE Carll H. de Silver Fund
    PROVENANCE 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.
    Provenance FAQ
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION 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)
    IMAGE overall, 31.813_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2015
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