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Frédéric Bazille

The Digital Catalogue Raisonné

by Michel Schulman
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After the Bath

Huile sur toile
41 x 30 cm - 16 1/8 x 11 13/16 in.
Collection particulière
Dernière mise à jour : 2022-03-29 11:19:00
Référence : MSb-40


Famille de l’artiste - André Bazille, neveu de l’artiste - Collection particulière.


As far as we know, never exhibited


Daulte, Bazille et son temps, 1952, n° 49, p. 127 - Daulte, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre peint, 1992, n° 54, pp. 177-178  - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné, 1995, n° 40, repr. p. 171 - Schulman, Frédéric Bazille : Catalogue raisonné numérique, 2022, n° 40.

It was in 1952 in Daulte's book, that the Sortie de bain first appeared; he dated it uncertainly to 1870. One wonders if the Sortie de bain might not have been done earlier, however. Two observations would indeed lead us to advance the date of its execution. If Daulte proposed the date of 1870, it is because it recalls La Toilette. But even though the two paintings have this subject in common, they nevertheless seem profoundly different. After the Bath lacks the flourish of La Toilette it has neither the graphics nor the tones.

In After the Bath, a naked young woman has just finished washing herself. She has stepped out of her bathtub and sits in an armchair. A maid, behind her, hands her a large bathrobe. The young woman crosses her legs. In the foreground, to the left of the large green velvet armchair, a small footrest is covered with the same velvet. In the background, two crossed curtains can be discerned, half-hiding the bathtub. The woman  emerging from the bath has her eyes half-closed like the Young Woman with Lowered Eyes, The Fortune Teller and Woman in a Moorish Costume.

Some graphic imperfections common to Bazille are found here, such as the shape of the right foot resting on the ground; even more awkward is the outline of the hips of the seated young woman. The rest of her body, however, is well done, especially the bust and the charming face. The maid is better painted than the woman, which increases her importance. She is beautiful with her small white bonnet, thin nose and sensual lips.

The overall tone of the painting, which is quite dark, highlights the naked body of the woman and the face of the maid. To accentuate this contrast, Bazille would have reddened her cheekbones, patches of color reminiscent of the earring - red - of the naked woman. The pale green bathrobe harmonizes perfectly with the greenish colors of the curtains of the bathtub. Bazille did not neglect the effect of depth thanks to a clear floor that, on the right, leads as if by a small passage to the bathtub in the background. Technically, the touch is sober and discreet.

The weave of the canvas is made perceptible by the transparency and lightness of the subject.

Some similarities are noted between After the Bath and the Naked Woman from Behind, particularly in the rendering and transparency of the bodies. The treatment of the exteriors of the Naked Woman from Behind, however, is much more energetic and interesting. Probably done in the studio, After the Bath is ultimately only distantly related to La Toilette, which is a major work by Bazille. We believe it to be well before 1870. Lacking the ability to assign a precise date, we have dated it to 1868.

Our knowledge of the painter has evolved since the publication of our catalogue raisonné in 1995 and the attribution to Bazille now seems uncertain for us. Unable to examine the work and to consider it technically, we can't carry out a thorough and personal examination; so it seems justified, in the meantime, to reconsider its attribution.