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Bathers at Saatchi Yates
Thursday 1 June – Mid-August 2023
14 Bury Street
St James’s
London SW1Y 6AL

This June, Saatchi Yates will present Bathers– a major group exhibition drawing from the rich tradition of Bathing scenes in the history of painting, in ode to the ultimate summer muse. 

Tracing its genesis to classical antiquity, artists have depicted the bathing figure over the ages, from the French Masters appreciation of natural beauty, to its radical reconstruction by Picasso. Today, this tradition continues to captivate the imagination, with the new exhibition at Saatchi Yates exploring this enduring subject, grounded in the birth of Venus from the sea.

ANGELA SANTANA The Bathers, 2023 Oil on Canvas 244 x 163 cm

The exhibition will bring together a collection of contemporary art, presented alongside renowned Post-War and Historical Masters including David Hockney, Paul Cezanne, J. M. W. Turner and Pablo Picasso. Contemporary stars such as Hurvin Anderson, Peter Doig, Henry Taylor, Eric Fischl, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye will feature in the show, creating an artistic tapestry that reflects the breadth and diversity of the Bathers theme across the history of art. Notable pieces from Jean-Baptiste Oudry, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Damien Hirst, and Auguste Rodin will also be on display.

Bathers at Saatchi Yates
HURVIN ANDERSON Phoebe Skinny Dipping, 1999 Oil on Canvas, 
178 x 254cm  (C. Private Collection)

Speaking of the exhibition, Martin Gayford says: “Bathers in painting are both varied and fundamental to the human condition. The combination of unclothed bodies and water can evoke guilt-free primordial innocence: a sin-free Eden. On the other hand, the same visual ingredients can suggest the consequences of Eve and Adam’s Fall: guilt, lust, death. 

In either case, the subject combines in one neat package two of the major preoccupations of artists for many centuries – landscape and the nude. It is no surprise that bathers have preoccupied painters for so long, and it is likely that the combination of water and human bodies will continue to intrigue them far into the future.”

Bathers at Saatchi Yates
TESFAYE URGESSA Work not titled yet, 2023
Oil on Canvas, 250 x 250 cm

Now, Six of Saatchi Yates gallery artists will pay homage to this tradition, each one exploring the Bather in their own unique, painterly style. Saatchi Yates-represented artists will include British artists Danny Fox & Benjamin Spiers, alongside prominent Ethiopian artist Tesfaye Urgessa; breakout Korean artist Sujin Lee; American visual artist Kottie Paloma;and Swiss artist Angela Santana.

Bathers follows on from Saatchi Yates’ well-regarded Tesfaye Urgessa solo show in Miami, which coincided with his presentation at the Rubell Museum in November 2022. The show also follows on from Macabre – the selling exhibition co-organised with Christie’s London in October 2022, featuring works by Otto Dix, Lucas Cranach, Andy Warhol, and Francis Bacon.

The exhibition catalogue will include essays by leading Art Critic Martin Gayford and Author and First Female Chair of National Gallery, Hannah Rothschild.

Bathers at Saatchi Yates will be available to view from Thursday 1 June until mid-August for free, with weekly curator-led tours every Saturday throughout June.