(Malaga 1881 - Mougins 1973)
Femme au bain
Signed Picasso at the lower right.
Inscribed and dated by the artist Boisgeloup 9 Avril / XXXIII at the upper right.
Numbered 10 and C/30 on the verso.
289 x 229 mm. (11 3/8 x 9 in.)
In this drawing, Marie-Thérèse is easily recognizable as the bather, who is secretly observed by a young boy as she steps into a bath or pool. The artist may here have been basing his composition on the Biblical theme of ‘Susanna and the Elders’, a common subject of Old Master paintings, although the old men of the Old Testament tale have here been replaced by a curious youth, peering timidly over the edge of the bath. The theme of voyeurism is, of course, one that Picasso would return to throughout his later career.
A closely related drawing in pen and ink wash, of horizontal format, was drawn at Boisgeloup two days after the present sheet and is today in the Graphische Sammlung of the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart. The Stuttgart drawing depicts the bather spied on by two young boys, not one. Another related pen and ink drawing, also horizontal in orientation and dated the day after the present sheet, appeared at auction in New York in 1990. A related subject of Startled Bathers (Les Baigneuses surprises) is found in one of Picasso’s etchings for the Vollard Suite, dated 22 May 1933.
‘I do not know if I am a great painter, but I am a great draughtsman.’ (Picasso to Max Jacob).
Anonymous sale, New York, Christie’s, 14 November 1984, lot 259
Private collection, USA.