"After the Bath" departs from the typical iconography used by the artist throughout his oeuvre. Bridgman's repertoire abounds in North African scenes, desert scenes, topographical works and the imagined interior of harems. He painted large canvases of Oriental women, but rarely the nude. Bridgman here has broken away from the teachings of his master, Jean Léon Gérôme, and has painted this woman in a more free and sensual manner. The figure is not academically stylized; the artist has depicted a flesh and blood woman in the simple act of putting on her shoes after a bath.
Signature: Signed lower left: F.A. Bridgman
Dr. Ilene Susan Fort, the Gail and John Liebes Curator of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
About Frederick Arthur Bridgman
Best known for his painted visions of exoticized North African scenes and people, Frederick Arthur Bridgman was considered among the leading Orientalist artists of his time. He made many trips to North Africa throughout the 1870s and 1880s, returning to his studio laden with sketches, traditional articles of clothing, crafts, and architectural fragments. Combining meticulous attention to detail and a naturalistic style with his own imaginative interpretations and fantasies, Bridgman painted a dreamy, lush, and significantly idealized East. He was also a formative landscape painter in the Tonalist tradition.
American, 1847-1928, Tuskegee, Alabama