%C2%A9 Succession H. Matisse %2F Artists Rights Society %28ARS%29%2C New York

Three Bathers, 1907


Oil on canvasexpand_more

Bequest of Putnam Dana McMillanexpand_more  61.36.14

This painting, like Boy with a Butterfly Net, dates from Matisse’s immediate post-Fauvist period, and is a characteristic example of his painting to its most elemental. Broad blocks of color indicate land, water and sky. The thick contour lines defining the bathers seem pictorial and sculptural at the same time, and indicate Matisse’s struggle to reconcile volume and two-dimensional design through reductive means.

Three Bathers relates to Matisse’s much larger Bathers with a Turtle from 1908, now in the St. Louis Art Museum. These paintings inaugurated a period of artistic experimentation that culminated in Matisse’s monumental painting known as The Dance.

Three Bathers
Artist Life
Accession Number
Oskar and Greta Moll, Paris, France and Wroclaw, Poland. [1] Hodebert, Paris, France. Georges Bernheim, Paris, France (by 1931). [2] Dr. Jacques Soubies, Paris, France. [3] Léopold Zborowski [1889-1932], Paris (until 1937). (consigned to Galerie Simon/Mayor Gallery/Rains Gallery, New York City). [4] [Soubiès sale through Hôtel Drouot, Paris, France, December 13, 1940, no. 62]. (Carstairs Gallery, New York City) [5] Putnam Dana McMillan, Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 9, 1950; bequest to MIA in 1961. [6] [1] The Molls were German friends of Matisse and acquired the painting directly from him, according to recollections of Georges Keller of Carstairs Gallery in a letter of May 12, 1950. Keller also said that he acquired it directly from them in 1928 while still at the Galerie Georges Petit. If this is accurate or true, the next entry listed on the provenance should be: Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1928. [2] Mr. Bernheim is listed as the owner of this painting on a label (affixed on the middle brace of the painting's stretcher) for an exhibition titled 'Exposition HENRI-MATISSE' at the Galerie Georges Petit, Paris. This would confirm the reference in letters from the McMillan archive file (letters, May 12 and June 26, 1950) which notes that this painting was at the "great Matisse show held at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris in 1931" which, however, arrived too late to be in the catalogue. The June 26 letter also says that the painting "remained in France until it was brought to the US in approximately early 1950." This is conflicted by the information in the Zborowski entry, below. [3] La Galerie Simon, 1935-1936. "Dr." is given in a letter of June 26, 1950 to Dick Davis from the Carstairs Gallery giving the provenance of this painting. There was a Soubies sale at the Hotel Drouot, Paris, December 13, 1940. An additional Soubies sale was held June 14, 1928. [4] Art Digest XI, April 15, 1937, p. 34, notes an auction that will take place at the Rains Galleries in New York City on April 23, 1937 that w
Curator Approved

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