After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself (Après le bain, femme s'essuyant)

After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself (Après le bain, femme s'essuyant)

photo: Bruce M. White
Full Screen

About This Work

Edgar Degas (French, 1834–1917)
After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself, 1890's
Oil on canvas
75.5 x 86.0 cm. (29 3/4 x 33 7/8 in.)
Signed in red, lower right: Degas


Estate of Edgar Degas, sold at auction, Galerie Georges Petit, Tableaux, pastels et dessins par Edgar Degas et provenant de son atelier, dont la vente aux enchères publiques, après décès de l'artiste, 6–8 May 1918, no. 98; [sold to Ambroise Vollard (1867–1939), Paris]; possibly by descent to de Galéa heirs, Paris. Robert de Bolli, Paris, possibly a dealer or agent; sold to Henry Pearlman, 30 May 1959; Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, after 1974.

Conservator's Note

To achieve a dry, pastel look, some of the oil was leached out of the paint before it was applied. The pattern for the background wallpaper was made by first brushing on a faint wash of red paint for the background, and then applying spots of gray and orange paint with the fingers (some fingerprints are visible under magnification).

Critical Perspective

Beginning in the late 1880s, Degas frequently portrayed women bathing or drying themselves. This is among the most unstable, daring poses in the series. Although the artist sometimes used live models, he usually based the figures on drawings. Here, the body is generalized, suggesting that the painting may have been created from memory or from a sketch.

A 1958 letter from Galerie Rene Drouet encourages Henry Pearlman to purchase this Degas at the asking price.