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After the Shower

Pierre Bonnard, French, 1867 - 1947

Made in France, Europe


Oil on canvas

37 3/8 x 26 3/16inches (94.9 x 66.5cm) Framed: 48 1/4 x 37 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches (122.6 x 94.6 x 11.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 265, European Art 1850-1900, second floor (Eglin Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louis E. Stern Collection, 1963

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Pierre Bonnard was one of the great colorists of twentieth-century French painting. After the Shower, with its gorgeous palette and dazzling optical effects, is a fine illustration of what the artist meant when he claimed that painting is "the transcription of the adventures of the optic nerve." This luminous canvas, which was probably painted at the Villa Joséphine in Saint-Tropez, belongs to a celebrated series of pictures in which the artist's lifelong companion, Marthe de Méligny, is observed following her daily routine of washing and drying herself. These intimate portraits evoke the quiet life the two shared in the south of France.


With Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris; E. R. Bühler, Winterthur, by 1926 [1]; on consignment with Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne; sold to Louis E. Stern, New York, September 2, 1946 [2]; bequest to PMA, 1963. 1. See Courthion, "L'Art français dans les collections privées en Suisse," in L'Amour de l'Art, vol. 7, February 1926, p. 59 (as Bühler Collection). 2. A 1964 letter from Galerie Rosengart gives Stern's purchase date (PMA Archives, Marceau object files, Stern Collection). According to provenance notes made by Louis Stern (copy in curatorial file), E. R. Bühler was the painting's only previous owner, although in fact Bühler acquired the painting through Bonnard's dealer Bernheim-Jeune; see the Dauberville catalogue raisonné and letter from Galerie Rosengart to Henry Gardiner, c. June 1964 (copy in curatorial file). Bühler (also referred to as Richard Bühler or simply R. Bühler in the Dauberville catalogue raisonné) was a cousin (Stern's notes describe him as a brother-in-law) of Mrs. Hédy Hahnloser-Bühler of Winterthur, Switzerland. Bonnard was a close friend of the entire Hahnloser family, particularly Hédy and her husband Arthur, whom he met in 1910, and he made portraits of several of its members.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.