The model for this painting is likely to be Marthe, Bonnard’s wife, who was known to spend many hours bathing as a remedy for a health condition. Bonnard made several paintings on this subject, which became richer in colour throughout the series. The woman’s face looks quietly sorrowful, creating a sombre mood.
The C C Land Exhibition: Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on canvas 86 x 120.6 cm Tate. Presented by Lord Ivor Spencer Churchill through the Contemporary Art Society 1930
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.