Discover all 14 City of Paris museums

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Georges Clairin - Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt
Armand Point - Peacock Casket
Camille Alaphilippe - Woman with Monkey
Aristide  Maillol - Seated female nude with her left hand on her head. Study for The Mediterranean
Louis-Robert Carrier-Belleuse - The Struggle for Life vase
Léon  Lhermitte - Les Halles
Fernand Pelez - The Death of Emperor Commodus
Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Ambroise Vollard in a Red Scarf
Jean Carriès - My Portrait
Emile Gallé - Two-handled vase
Georges-Henri Lemaire - Silence or Immortality
Charles-Alexandre Giron - Woman wearing gloves, also known as The Parisienne
Paul Sérusier - Tricoteuse au bas rose
Pierre-Auguste  Renoir - Portrait of Madame de Bonnières
Berthe Morisot - Jeune fille en décolleté - La fleur aux cheveux
Pierre Bonnard - Conversation à Arcachon
Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat - Dish : The judgment of Paris
Joseph-Marius Avy  - Bal blanc
Marie Constantine Bashkirtseff - Parisienne, Portrait of Irma
Maurice Denis - Female bathers at Perros-Guirec
Fernand Pelez - La Vachalcade
Alfred Sisley - The Church at Moret (Evening)
Théophile Alexandre Steinlen - Ball on the 14th of July
Edmond  Aman-Jean - Miss Ella Carmichaël
Raoul Larche - Buste d'enfant (portrait présumé de Marcel Lerolle)
Sarah Bernhardt - Dagger : algues
 Baccarat Factory - Vase à décor de cactus
Emile Gallé - Commode, Le Sang d'Arménie
 Bracquemond (Félix), Rousseau (Eugène), Creil and Montereau factory - Round dish. Rousseau dinner service
Félix  Vallotton - Femme au bouquet
Emmanuel Frémiet - Le pélican gastronome
George Desvallières - Portrait de Mademoiselle Yvonne Robiquet
Léonard Agathon - Deux esquisses pour le Jeu de l'Echarpe

Three Bathers

Aix-en-Provence, 1839 - Aix-en-Provence, 1906
1879 - 1882
Oil on canvas
55 x 52 cm

Cézanne devoted over two-hundred paintings, watercolours and drawings to the theme of bathing men and women.
He started working with this subject in the late sixties and carried on developing it until 1906, sometimes taking several years to finish the largest paintings.
As the compositions evolve, the descriptive elements disappear in favour of construction. The stocky figures become the members of a rigorously ordered pictorial assembly and not the representatives of corporeal beauty.

The Three Bathers at the Petit Palais are arranged in a wooded area where a wide ray of light passes through, reflected in the water. The slightly oblique and regular strokes submit the forms to the structure of the image. Blonde, redhead and dark, the figures are part of a pyramidal composition which is clearly demarcated by two trees forming an arch. The use of a nearly square format, which is found in several small format versions, reinforces the impression of density and abundance which was felt by Matisse, a great admirer of this painting.

The first collectors to grasp the scope of the pictorial revolution to which Cézanne subjected his bathers were in fact painters.
Thus Matisse, who donated the Three Bathers to the Petit Palais, considered this “very dense and very complete” composition to be very important. He had acquired it in 1899 from Ambroise Vollard. The dealer had organised the first exhibition of Cézanne’s work in Paris four years earlier. It was not until Matisse donated this work in 1936 that a composition with bathers entered a western European museum.

Donor, testator or seller: 
Gift of M. and Mme Henri Matisse, 1936
Inventory number: 
Inventory number : PPP02099
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