After Bathing, Woman Drying Herself (c.1905 – c.1907) by Edgar Degas

After Bathing, Woman Drying Herself - Edgar Degas - c.1905 - c.1907

Artwork Information

TitleAfter Bathing, Woman Drying Herself
ArtistEdgar Degas
Datec.1905 - c.1907
Art MovementImpressionism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About After Bathing, Woman Drying Herself

The artwork “After Bathing, Woman Drying Herself” is a pastel work by Edgar Degas, dating from approximately 1905 to 1907. Degas, renowned for his contributions to the Impressionist movement, often explored the theme of the female form in various states of repose or activity. This particular piece belongs to the nude painting genre (nu) and is held in a private collection. As with much of Degas’ oeuvre, the composition demonstrates a candid and intimate moment, absent of the viewer’s immediate presence.

This pastel artwork captures an everyday, private moment with a candid intimacy that is characteristic of Degas’ work. The central subject is a woman, depicted in a hunched position as she dries herself with a towel. The posture of the figure suggests a naturalistic, unposed moment, likely unaware of being observed. Much of the work’s surrounding space is filled with warm hues that echo the flush of her skin, indicative of the life and warmth of the figure within.

The composition focuses on the curvature and suppleness of the woman’s back, the play of light and shadow accentuating the form. The textural qualities of the pastel medium provide a softness that complements the theme of bathing. There is a subtle interplay of color and tone, with softer, less defined edges that are typical of Impressionism’s approach to capturing the transient effects of light and color. Despite being focused on the figure, there is an ambiguity in the background that suggests an indifference to setting, guiding the viewer’s attention to the tactile quality of the medium and the flesh of the woman’s body. Through these elements, Degas successfully conveys the sensuality and immediacy of the moment.

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