In the five existing states of this print, Degas exploits the technical possibility of modifying the plate to transform the setting from toilette to brothel. In a rare instance a monotype subject has been treated in drypoint with the woman in each state increasingly adorned until, from faceless anonymity, she becomes a prostitute whose braceleted wrist extends as if to welcome a client through the open door. In subject and in technique the present print can be compared to Degas's La Sortie du Bain of 1879 (A. & C. 49).
If novels of the time - La Fille Elisa by Edmond de Goncourt or Emile Zola's Nana among others - were accorded popular success, Degas's intimate scenes invited only criticism for having degraded the 'secret rituals of woman' (Primoli). Degas had already remarked to his friend Maurice Denis that if he had lived in the Renaissance he would have painted David and Bathsheba, but living when he did, he painted women in the bathtub, 'Je ne sors pas des cabinets de toilette, et cependant moi aussi je voudrais....faire du Raphaël, Je ne le peux pas, pourquoi?' (Adhémar & Cachin, p. X)