Gift of Babette L. and Charles H. Wampold
"Nudes Bathing" demonstrates the visionary and romantic quality that characterizes the works of Louis Eilshemius, a turn-of-the-century painter whose works are difficult to characterize. Many paintings, such as this one, utilize conventional subjects familar from the history of European painting interpreted in a loosely painted, ideosyncratic manner. The artist abandoned most of the details in his work, and focused on larger forms—a characteristic that links his strangely conceived pictures to a modernist aesthetic.
Eilshemius was a talented draughtsman, and his later naive style was clearly an affectation that he adopted in spite of his documented artistic ability. Left financially secure by his family's fortune, Eilshemius was content to travel, and his destinations included the South Seas, where he found the beauty of the landscape and the simplicity of the people enchanting. Many scenes such as this one are fantasy reminiscences of native Samoans bathing in tropical pools.
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