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The Bath

Origin France
Period 19th Century
W. 25.7 in; H. 21.4 in;
W. 65.28 cm; H. 54.36 cm;
Creation Date 1894
Description Berthe MORISOT (1841-1895)
The Bath
Stamped with signature 'Berthe Morisot' (Lugt 1826; lower left)
21-3/8 x 25-5/8 in. (54.3 x 65.1 cm.)
Framed: 29-1/2 x 34 inches
Painted in 1894.

Estate of the artist.
Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Paris (by 1896).
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (by 1919).
Private collection, Stockholm (acquired from the above, November 1925).
Gustaf Lagercrantz, Stockholm (by descent from the above); sale, Christie's, London, 6 December 1977, lot 4.
Anon. (acquired at the above sale); sale, Sotheby's, London, 22 June 1993, lot 40.
Private collector, Europe
Private collector, Long Island

M.-L. Bataille and G. Wildenstein, Berthe Morisot, Catalogue des peintures, pastels et aquarelles, Paris, 1961, p. 47, no. 364 (illustrated, fig. 369).
A. Clairet, D. Montalant and Y. Rouart, Berthe Morisot, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, Paris, 1997, p. 293, no. 368 (illustrated).

Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Berthe Morisot, 1896.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Cent oeuvres de Berthe Morisot, 1919, no. 65.
Paris, Galerie Marcel Bernheim, Berthe Morisot, Exposition Retrospective, June-July 1922, no. 49

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Berthe Morisot, (b. Jan. 14, 1841, Bourges, Fr.--d. March 2, 1895, Paris)
Berthe Morisot was a founding member of the Impressionists and contributed to all but one of the groups shows between 1874 and 1886. She was the first woman to join the circle of the French Impressionist painters. As a consequence of the social conventions that female artists upheld, the subject matter of their paintings often differed from those of their male counterparts, limiting her works to interiors and domestic scenes. Gender distinctions were reflected in early commentary on Morisot's art. Some critcs attributed her loose brushwork and pastel colors to her femininity, even though these very elements were emblematic of the Impressionist style. The critical tide turned, however, when Philippe Burty wrote in a review of the Fifth Impressionist Exhibition in 1880: "Morisot handles the palette and brush with truly astonishing delicacy" (quote in The New Paintings: Impressionism 1874-1886, exh. cat., The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, 1986, p. 326). The following year, Gustave Geffroy proclaimed, "No one represents Impressionism, with more refined talent or with more authority than Morisot" (quoted in ibid., p. 366).
The Bath captures a classic, intimate moment of two women dressing after their bath. The pose of the women in an outdoor setting suggests a mythical scene, exhibiting the artist's renewed interest in the work of Bouched and other Rococo masters. Pierre-Auguste Renoir's influence is also perceived -- he had become deeply immersed in painting female bathers during the 1880's, as he moved away from documenting scenes of modern life. Renoir and Morisot had been close friends since 1885.

Born into a family of wealth and culture, Morisot received the conventional lessons in drawing and painting. She went firmly against convention, however, in choosing to take these pursuits seriously and make them her life's work. Having studied for a time under Camille Corot, she later began her long friendship with Edouard Manet, who became her brother-in-law in 1874 and was the most important single influence on the development of her style. Unlike most of the other impressionists, who were then intensely engaged in optical experiments with color, Morisot and Manet agreed on a more conservative approach, confining their use of color to a naturalistic framework. Morisot, however, did encourage Manet to adopt the impressionists' high-keyed palette and to abandon the use of black. Her own carefully composed canvases are often studies of women, either out-of-doors or in domestic settings. Morisot and American artist Mary Cassatt are generally considered the most important women painters of the later 19th century.
Morisot's drawings, watercolors and oils are in all of the major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The J Paul Getty, The Louvre and the Musee D'Orsay. The majority of Morisot's paintings are in major museums and few remain in private collections.
Styles / Movements Impressionism
Incollect Reference Number 122977
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