The present drawing comes near the end of a long line of works that were inspired by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres' painting Le bain turc (fig. 1). John Richardson has observed that "As for the various nineteenth century masters included in Picasso's pantheon, the most consistent favorite for more than seventy years was Ingres," and quotes Picasso, "'One must paint like Ingres' he said. 'We must be like Ingres'" (quoted in Late Picasso, exh. cat., The Tate Gallery, London, 1988, p. 36).
Picasso first saw Ingres' late masterwork at the 1905 Salon d'Automne, to which it had been lent by its then owner, Prince Amédée de Broglie, who would sell it to the Louvre in 1911. The painting included nearly a score of nude female figures, comprising a virtual catalogue of poses from which Picasso, Henri Matisse, André Derain and others frequently borrowed and reworked. Le bain turc was chief among those works by Ingres that drew Picasso away from an exclusively Cubist approach to painting, and led him to explore a new classicizing manner, his own retour à Ingres, during and after the First World War. Most of Picasso's bather subjects from the Biarritz beach drawings of 1918 through the Surrealist figures of the 1930s, and many of his nudes thereafter, bear the imprint, directly or less apparently, of Le bain turc, showing the degree to which Picasso had appropriated and assimilated its classical, yet sensual, voyeuristic, and orientalist character.
(fig. 1) Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Le bain turc, 1862. Musée du Louvre, Paris.