Edgar Degas
(Paris, 1834-1917, Paris)
After the Bath, ca. 1896/98
Pastel on paper, 66 x 61 cm
Studio stamp lower left
Lemoisne 1263
Female nudes bathing, drying and combing their hair appear in the work of Degas for the first time around 1880. In his later works they assume an ever more important place, the more he restricts himself to work in the studio, where he held available a bath-tub for the model. At times, the ugly form is deliberately made the focus of the representation. In this field too, the oil painting is gradually supplanted by the pastel owing to Degas’ worsening eye condition. A predecessor of our version of the woman towelling herself is a pastel dated 1865 in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. From this time on, this representation is repeated in countless variants right into the beginning of the new century.