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the tub

women at their toilette, drawings of women in the bathtub or tub by olaf melcher
chalk on paper, 50 x 65 cm, 2018

women at their toilette nude drawings

In 2018 I started reflecting about poses and questioned what poses could make sense in our nowadays world and I remembered how outstanding modern the poses Degas introduced were at his times. These female nude drawings and pastels are put together in a series called « the tub », showing women at their toilette or taking a bath at home.

Presented at the eighth Impressionist exhibition in 1886, this pastel is one of a series of seven pictures produced by Degas in the mid 1880’s on the theme of women at their ablutions, a subject already explored by the artist in a series of monotypes some ten years previously.

His minute observation of their intimate, everyday gestures is a far cry from the traditional romantic scenes of ladies at their toilette. The young woman’s pose, sometimes interpreted by contemporary critics as the expression of a certain animality, is derived from that of the Crouching Aphrodite of Antiquity. Its still life of toilet articles, with a distorted Japanese-style perspective, and its plunging view, make this pastel one of the most audacious and accomplished of Degas’ works on the modern theme of the woman in her bathtub (credits : Musée d’Orsay Paris).