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After the Bath (Woman Drying Herself)

Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas, French, 1834 - 1917

Made in France, Europe

c. 1896

Oil on canvas

35 1/4 x 46 inches (89.5 x 116.8cm) Framed: 47 1/2 x 58 1/16 x 5 inches (120.7 x 147.5 x 12.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 161, European Art 1850-1900, first floor (Resnick Rotunda)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with funds from the estate of George D. Widener, 1980

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    This is one of three paintings that Edgar Degas executed around 1896 of a woman seen from the rear as she reclines awkwardly on the back of a chaise longue. Anticipated by both a photograph (The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu) and a drawing (private collection), the paintings have elicited wide-ranging interpretations from critics attempting to understand the woman's contorted pose and the strange fusion of eroticism and anguish it suggests. Of the three paintings, this is the simplest, the most thinly painted, and the most monochromatic, characteristics that have indicated to some that the work is unfinished. More likely, the fiery red canvas is evidence of Degas's increasing interest in pictorial abstraction in his later years, and his daring play with viewers' expectations of compositional completeness. Even in its simplicity and spareness, this is a fully resolved composition, and brilliant evidence of Degas's ability to innovate throughout his long artistic career. Christopher Riopelle, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 204.


Second sale of the Degas atelier, Galeries Georges Petit, Paris, December 11-13, 1918, no. 17; purchased by Dr. Georges Viau (1855-1939), Paris; his estate sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, December 11, 1942, no. 94 (illus.). Hermann Lutjens, Zürich, by 1950 [1]; Mme H. Lutjens, Zürich, by 1959 [2]; with Galerie Feilchenfeldt, Zürich, by 1973 [3]; with Marianne Feilchenfeldt, Zürich, by 1979; sold to PMA, February 20, 1980. 1. J. Grenier, "The Revolution of Color," XXe siècle, vol. 22, no. 15, 1950, p. 14 (as "Coll. Mme H. Lutjens, Zurich"). 2. Lent to the exhibition "De Géricault à Matisse: chefs-d'oeuvre français des collections suisses," Paris, Petit Palais, March-May 1959, no. 44 3. Lent to the exhibition "50 Jahre Kunsthandelsverband der Schweiz," Kunsthaus Zürich, September 15-November 11, 1973, no. 41 (from label on reverse).

* 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.