Skip Navigation

Nude Woman Drying Herself (Femme au Tub)

Edgar Degas

European Art

Embracing the Impressionist credo of painting modern life, Degas concentrated on the daily rituals of urban dwellers. In this image, typical of his bather scenes, Degas captures his subject from behind and in motion as she vigorously towels herself after a bath. Bright light pours in from the window, highlighting her left breast but otherwise casting her body in shadow and limiting clear definition of both facial and bodily features. This composition thus denies much of the erotic charge associated with more traditional images of the passive female nude. As many have noted, however, the furnished domestic interior suggests an unusually intimate glimpse into the routines of a bourgeois woman—a candid view that challenged the proprieties of that class at the time.

Unlike his fellow Impressionists, Degas remained devoted to more traditional working methods, including the execution of numerous preliminary drawings for finished works. The summary definition of form, quick brushstrokes, and monochromatic sepia tones suggest that this work may be the under-drawing for an ambitious but unfinished painting.

[Text not currently in gallery]

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
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Carll H. de Silver Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
    This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement. You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act. The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals. For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    CAPTION Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917). 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
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.