Paul Cézanne (French, Aix-en-Provence 1839–1906 Aix-en-Provence)

Oil on canvas
15 x 18 1/8 in. (38.1 x 46 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Joan Whitney Payson, 1975
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    This is one of Cézanne’s first paintings of bathers, a subject that engaged him for the rest of his career. Although fascinated by the nude human figure, the artist worked slowly and was uncomfortable with female models, so he derived such scenes from his imagination and his rich knowledge of classical and Renaissance art. The rhythmic poses of the women, displaying their bodies from different angles, recur, with variations, in Cézanne’s later work. However, he soon tempered the bright, high-keyed palette, favored by his Impressionist colleagues.

  • Provenance

    [Ambroise Vollard, Paris, until 1897; by exchange with three other Cézannes for cash and "un tableau de Lautrec de chez Boussod (femme à la toilette)," on January 25, to Loeser]; Charles A. Loeser, Florence (1897–d. 1928); his wife, Olga Lebert Loeser, Florence (1928–d. 1947); their daughter, Matilda Loeser Calnan, Florence and Lausanne (1947–?1961); [?Bruscoli, Florence, from 1961]; M. Guidi, Lausanne; [Knoedler, New York and De Hauke, New York]; [Hector Brame, Paris, until 1963; sold in November 1963 to Payson]; Mrs. Charles Shipman (Joan Whitney) Payson, New York and Manhasset (1963–d. 1975)

  • Exhibition History

    Venice. Biennale. "XIIa esposizione internazionale d'arte della città di Venezia," April 15–October 31, 1920, no. 26 (as "Bagnanti," lent by Sig. Carlo Loeser, Florence).

    Florence. Palazzo Pitti. "La Peinture française à Florence," Summer 1945, no. 125 (as "Baigneuses," lent by Charles and Olga Loeser).

    Rome. Palazetto Venezia. "Tableaux français en Italie; Tableaux italiens en France," Summer 1946, no. 116 (as "Baigneuses," lent by the Loeser collection, Florence).

    Venice. Biennale. "XXIV Biennale di Venezia," May 29–September 30, 1948, no. 40 (as "Bagnanti," lent by Signora Matilde Loeser-Calnan, Florence).

    Edinburgh. Royal Scottish Academy Building. "Cézanne," August 20–September 18, 1954, no. 14 (as "Baigneuses," lent by Madame Matilde Loeser Calnan).

    London. Tate Gallery. "Cézanne," September 28–October 27, 1954, no. 14.

    Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art. "From Goya to Wyeth: The Joan Whitney Payson Collection," September 13–October 12, 1980, no. 35.

    Tokyo. Isetan Museum of Art. "From Goya to Wyeth: The Joan Whitney Payson Collection," October 17–December 9, 1980, no. 35.

    Naples. Museo di Capodimonte. "Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani," December 3, 1986–February 1, 1987, no. 3 (as "Bagnanti").

    Milan. Pinacoteca di Brera. "Capolavori Impressionisti dei Musei Americani," March 4–May 10, 1987, no. 3.

    Kunstmuseum Basel. "Paul Cézanne: Die Badenden," September 10–December 10, 1989, no. 15 (as "Baigneuses").

    Fort Lauderdale. Museum of Art. "Corot to Cézanne: 19th Century French Paintings from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 22, 1992–April 11, 1993, no catalogue.

    Paris. Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. "Cézanne," September 25, 1995–January 7, 1996, no. 37 (as "Baigneuses").

    London. Tate Gallery. "Cézanne," February 8–April 28, 1996, no. 37.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Cézanne," May 30–September 1, 1996, no. 37.

    Livorno. Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori. "Cézanne, Fattori e il '900 in Italia," December 7, 1997–April 13, 1998, no. 1.

    Aix-en-Provence. Musée Granet. "Cézanne au fil de l'eau," June 17–September 15, 2000, no. 8.

    Rome. Complesso del Vittoriano. "Cézanne: Il padre dei moderni," March 7–July 21, 2002, unnumbered cat.

    Florence. Palazzo Strozzi. "Cézanne in Florence: Two Collectors and the 1910 Exhibition of Impressionism," March 2–July 29, 2007, unnumbered cat.

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde," May 21–September 6, 2011, unnumbered cat.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde," February 28–June 3, 2012, unnumbered cat.

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Gauguin, Cézanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia," June 20–September 3, 2012, unnumbered cat. (fig. 164).

  • References

    E[milio]. Cecchi. "La XII Esposizione internazionale a Venezia. La lezione di Cézanne." Il Convegno (July 1920) [English translation published in Ref. Lorenzi 2007, p. 285].

    A. Maraini. "La XII Biennale veneziana." Rassegna d'arte antica e moderna (1920) [English translation published in Ref. Lorenzi 2007, p. 283].

    U[go]. Ojetti. "Cézanne." Corriere della Sera (July 10, 1920) [English translation published in Ref. Lorenzi 2007, p. 281].

    C[ipriano]. E[fisio]. Oppo. "All'Esposizione Internazionale di Venezia. La piccola mostra di Cézanne." L'Idea Nazionale (May 23, 1920) [English translation published in Ref. Lorenzi 2007, p. 287].

    A. Soffici. "Una sala di Cézanne." Il Resto del Carlino (July 8, 1920) [English translation published in Ref. Lorenzi 2007, p. 284].

    U. B. "All'Esposizione di Venezia. Cézanne e Matisse." La Stampa (July 18, 1920) [English translation published in Ref. Lorenzi 2007, p. 286].

    Giorgio Castelfranco. La pittura moderna. Florence, 1934, pl. XXII, calls it "Bagnanti".

    Lionello Venturi. Cézanne: son art—son oeuvre. Paris, 1936, vol. 1, p. 123, no. 265; vol. 2, pl. 70, no. 265, calls it "Baigneuses" and dates it 1873–77.

    Leo Stein. Letter to Maurice Sterne. June 29, 1945 [published in "Journey into the Self, Being the Letters, Papers & Journals of Leo Stein," New York, 1950, p. 252], mentions seeing the French paintings exhibition in Florence [Exh. Florence 1945], where the only pictures he admired were the Cézannes from the Loeser collection, among them a charming "little figure composition" [Ref. Rewald 1989 tentatively identifies this as a reference to our painting].

    Rodolfo Pallucchini. Gli impressionisti alla XXIV Biennale di Venezia. [2nd ed.]. Venice, 1948, p. 44, no. 40, pl. 42.

    Douglas Cooper. "Two Cézanne Exhibitions—I." Burlington Magazine 96 (November 1954), pp. 346, 349, dates it about 1875, based on its "comma-like brush-strokes," which are typical of this period.

    Lawrence Gowing and Ronald Alley. An Exhibition of Paintings by Cézanne. Exh. cat., Royal Scottish Academy Building. Edinburgh, 1954, unpaginated, no. 14, compare it to "Jas de Bouffan" (State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; R278), noting that both are painted in a "silvery formal style which is perhaps a reflection of his admiration for the work of Veronese".

    Lawrence Gowing. "Notes on the Development of Cézanne." Burlington Magazine 98 (June 1956), p. 187, discusses it in relation to Cézanne's "process of solidification," noting the "deliberate handling," the broken touch, and the silvery tone; contrasts these with "L'allée au Jas de Bouffan" (Tate Gallery, London; V47, R158).

    Gertrude Berthold. Cezanne und die alten Meister. Stuttgart, 1958, pp. 38–40, fig. 35, calls it "Badende Frauen," formerly in the Loeser collection, Florence; discusses it in connection with Claude Joseph Vernet's "Bathers" (Musée du Louvre, Paris).

    Melvin Waldfogel. "The Bathers of Paul Cézanne." PhD diss., Harvard University, 1961, vol. 1, pp. 15, 48–52, 56, 69, 73, 87, 111–12, 126, 136, 138–39, 174; vol. 2, pl. 28, calls it "Bathing Women in a Landscape," dates it 1876–78, and locates it in the Loeser collection, Florence; discusses Berthold's arguments concerning sources for this picture [see Ref. Berthold 1958]; groups it with "Impressionist" bathers of the 1870s, and traces its derivation from earlier works by Cézanne; considers it "the last 'plein-airistic Bathing Women' painted by Cézanne during the 1870s".

    Theodore Reff. "Cézanne's Constructive Stroke." Art Quarterly 25 (Autumn 1962), pp. 215–16, dates it about 1875.

    Melvin Waldfogel. "A Problem in Cézanne's Grandes Baigneuses." Burlington Magazine 104 (May 1962), p. 203 n. 2.

    Kurt Badt. The Art of Cézanne. [German ed., 1956]. Berkeley, 1965, p. 167.

    Jack Lindsay. Cézanne: His Life and Art. Greenwich, Conn., 1969, p. 347, tentatively dates it 1875.

    Sandra Orienti in L'opera completa di Cézanne. [French ed., 1975; English ed., 1985]. Milan, 1970, p. 99, no. 282, ill., dates it 1873–77.

    Theodore Reff in Cézanne: The Late Work. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1977, p. 41, relates the standing figure at the center of this picture to a similarly posed figure in "The Temptation of Saint Anthony" (Foundation E. G. Bührle collection, Zurich; V103, R167), noting that Cézanne's earlier, nightmarish figural groupings gave way in the mid-seventies to "more idyllic, emotionally neutral" compositions such as this one.

    Katia Tsiakma. "Cézanne's and Poussin's Nudes." Art Journal 37 (Winter 1977–78), p. 122, fig. 7, notes the influence of Poussin in this picture and compares the reclining figure to one in "Numa Pompilius and the Nymph Egeria," attributed to Poussin (Musée Condé, Chantilly).

    Mary Louise Krumrine. "Cézanne's Bathers: Form and Content." Arts 54 (May 1980), p. 118, fig. 12, dates it about 1873–77; discusses the "tree-cross" as symbolic of the Garden of Eden and mentions its appearance in other works by Cézanne.

    Richard Shiff. Cézanne and the End of Impressionism. Chicago, 1984, p. 114, fig. 23, dates it about 1875–76; calls it "'awkward''' and "artificial" and notes that the same brilliant yellow-green can be found in "View of Auvers" (Art Institute of Chicago; V150, R221).

    Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 178–79, 253, ill. (color), remarks that the high-keyed palette as seen in this picture was "relatively short-lived".

    John Rewald. Cézanne: A Biography. New York, 1986, p. 274, ill. p. 107 (color), dates it 1874–75.

    Gary Tinterow et al. Capolavori impressionisti dei musei americani. Exh. cat., Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. Milan, 1987, pp. 16–17, no. 3, ill. (color).

    Sidney Geist. Interpreting Cézanne. Cambridge, Mass., 1988, pp. 21–22, 116–17, 128, 231, 278, pl. 24, calls it "Six Bathers" and dates it about 1875; identifies the figures in this picture with the women in Cézanne's life.

    Cézanne by Himself: Drawings, Paintings, Writings. London, 1988, pp. 109, 313, ill. (color), calls it "Six Women" and dates it about 1873–77.

    John Rewald with the research assistance of Frances Weitzenhoffer. Cézanne and America: Dealers, Collectors, Artists and Critics, 1891–1921. The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, Princeton, 1989, pp. 53, 257, 346, fig. 27.

    Hajo Düchting. Paul Cézanne 1839–1906: Natur wird Kunst. [Engl. ed., 1999]. Cologne, 1990, p. 81, ill. (color).

    Mary Louise Krumrine. Paul Cézanne: The Bathers. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts. Basel, 1990, pp. 75, 123, 132, 137, 144, 148, 150, 187, 208, 240–41, 246, 264 n. 24, p. 312, no. 15, colorpls. 2 and 88 (detail and overall), discusses the figures as types and compares them to similar figures in other Cézanne compositions; calls it one of the pivotal works in the entire bathers series; discusses the tree/cross as symbolic of the Garden of Eden.

    Lawrence Gowing. "Cézanne's Human Form Divine: Adding a New Link to the Classical Past." Times Literary Supplement (February 15, 1991), p. 12, compares the "naked back that is modelled in colour" to the first portrait of Victor Chocquet (private collection, New York; V283, R292).

    Roger Hurlburt. "Free Spirits." Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) (December 20, 1992), p. 4D.

    Helen Kohen. "Lasting Impressions." Miami Herald (December 20, 1992), p. 6I, ill. p. 1I.

    Götz Adriani. Cézanne: Gemälde. Exh. cat., Kunsthalle Tübingen. Cologne, 1993, pp. 129–30, fig. 1 [English ed., 1995], calls it "Women Bathers"; discusses it in relation to "Women Bathers before a Tent" (Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart; V543, R553).

    Maria Teresa Benedetti. Cézanne. [Italian ed., 1995]. Paris, 1995, pp. 85, 104, ill. (color), dates it about 1874–75.

    Götz Adriani. Renoir. Exh. cat., Kunsthalle Tübingen. Cologne, 1996, pp. 236, 238, ill.

    Mary Louise Krumrine. "Paris and London: Cézanne." Burlington Magazine 138 (April 1996), p. 266.

    John Rewald, in collaboration with Walter Feilchenfeldt, and Jayne Warman. The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné. New York, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 169, 175–77, 566, 570, 572–73, no. 256; vol. 2, p. 83, fig. 256, calls it "Baigneuses" and dates it 1875–76; publishes the entry from Vollard's account book relating to the purchase of this painting by Loeser.

    Joseph J. Rishel in Cézanne. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. Philadelphia, 1996, p. 150, no. 37, colorpl. 37 [French ed., Paris, 1995, pp. 150–51, no. 37, ill. (color)], calls it "Bathers" and dates it 1874–75; regards this painting as the "female equivalent or even a pendant" to "Bathers at Rest" (Barnes Foundation, Merion, Penn.; V276, R261) and calls them both pivotal works in Cézanne's treatment of the bather theme.

    Friedrich Teja Bach in Cézanne: Finished, Unfinished. Exh. cat., Kunstforum Wien. 2000, pp. 69–70, fig. 11, observes that the cross-shaped tree in this painting also appears in "Avenue at Chantilly III" (V627, R616; Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; V627, R616) and a related watercolor, "The Barrier at Chantilly" (Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton).

    Maria Teresa Benedetti. Cézanne: Il padre dei moderni. Exh. cat., Complesso del Vittoriano. Milan, 2001, pp. 47, 118–19, ill. (color).

    Guila Ballas. Cézanne: Baigneuses et baigneurs, thème et composition. Paris, 2002, pp. 36–37, 43–45, 70, 120, 123, 147, 152, 166, 170, 213, 224–25, 227, 242, 250, 266, 276, 315 n. 7, ill. (color and black and white), calls it "Six Baigneuses" and dates it about 1877.

    Francesca Bardazzi in Cézanne in Florence: Two Collectors and the 1910 Exhibition of Impressionism. Exh. cat., Palazzo Strozzi, Florence. Milan, 2007, pp. 90, 112, ill. pp. 88, 113 (color, detail and overall), 266, notes that this was the only one of Loeser's Cézannes to be hung in the grand salon on the ground floor of the Villa Gattaia.

    Giovanna De Lorenzi in Cézanne in Florence: Two Collectors and the 1910 Exhibition of Impressionism. Exh. cat., Palazzo Strozzi, Florence. Milan, 2007, p. 253 n. 1, pp. 281, 283–87.

    Charles Palermo in Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment 1910–1912. Exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. Santa Barbara, 2011, pp. 22–23, fig. 7 (color).

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History