Exhibition catalogue text
48 The Bath 1925
Oil on canvas 86 x 120 (33 7/8 x 47 1/4)
Tate Gallery. Presented by Lord Ivor Spencer Churchill through the Contemporary Art Society 1930
This unsigned work was exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in 1925 as Baignoire. It was bought in October by the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, who sold it to Lord Ivor Spencer Churchill in 1927.
It is the first realisation of a woman lying full length in a bath, an image that was to preoccupy Bonnard for the next twenty years. The canvas is unevenly shaped, which, given Bonnard's practice of painting one or more pictures on a single piece of canvas tacked to the wall and then cutting it up, is not unusual.
The location of this bathroom has not been identified, although it could conceivably be 48 boulevard des Batignolles, the apartment Bonnard and Marthe moved to in 1924. The same division of the wall behind the bath also appears in Nude in the Bath, 1924 (Dauberville 1281).
Sarah Whitfield and John Elderfield, Bonnard, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1998, p.148 no.48, reproduced in colour p.149