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The Bather

Alexander Porfirevich Archipenko, American (born Ukraine), 1887 - 1964

The Bather is an example of “sculpto-painting,” Alexander Archipenko’s name for the polychrome low-relief collage sculptures that he began constructing in 1914. The female bather of the title is composed of two cone-shaped sheets of flattened metal wedged together and painted a glowing orange. This image of a woman with a fan-shaped towel in her upraised hand was probably inspired by real-life swimmers whom Archipenko would have seen during his time in Nice. This city on France’s Mediterranean coast is where the artist lived during most of the First World War. His rendering of the intense blue-violet color of the water and the soft orange-yellow light can equally be connected to the experience of that sun-drenched resort city. The presence of a delicately shaded column introduces an additional note of classical timelessness to this modern version of the bather theme.


Object Details
Purchased from the artist by Louise Arensberg (1879-1953) and Walter C. Arensberg (1878-1954), Los Angeles, March 20, 1936 [1]; gift to PMA, 1950.1. See the Arensbergs' provenance notes dated December 1, 1951 (PMA, Arensberg Archives). Archipenko settled in the U.S. in 1924.

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