Seen from behind, this bobbed-haired bather was most likely Bonnard’s favourite model and wife-to-be Marthe. Like his predecessor Degas, Bonnard made a number of paintings based on women in the act of daily bathing or dressing rituals. He made several sketches and photographs of this process in preparation for his paintings, and painted the finished piece in oils from memory, recalling the quality of light and colours as he remembered them.
Bathing Woman, Seen from the Back
The C C Land Exhibition: Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas 44.1 x 34.6 cm Tate. Bequeathed by the Hon. Mrs A.E. Pleydell-Bouverie through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1968
Pierre Bonnard (1867 – 1947) was a French artist who worked in the fields of painting, print-making, and photography. His work is best known for his use of colour, unusual vantage points and intimate portraits of domestic scenes from his own life. He was part of the Les Nabis group of avant-garde artists in the 1890s, alongside Paul Sérusier, Édouard Vuillard, and Maurice Denis. Bonnard often worked from memory, giving his paintings a dream-like quality.