Edgar Degas (French, 18341917)
Bronze, number 43/A; 12 5/8 x 12 1/2 x 7 3/4 in. (32.1 x 31.8 x 19.7 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929 (29.100.415)
Degas made many drawings and pastels of similar figures of women unselfconsciously combing their hair or washing and drying themselves. A charcoal drawing in the Von der Heydt-Museum in Wuppertal, Germany, depicts a woman in an identical position, seated next to a bathtub. The drawing is thought to date from about 1895. Working on a small scale, which prompted visitors to the artist's studio to compare his figures to dolls, Degas modeled the original sculpture from which this bronze was cast in wax. The cork incorporations in the wax are still visible on the back of the sculpture, which is now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.