The Bathers

The Bathers
Albert Sterner, 1931
color monotype, 37.9 x 30.2 cm
(14 15/16 x 11 7/8 in.), Smithsonian American Art Museum

Sterner Biography

Albert Sterner made his reputation as a painter of society portraits, but the scope of his subject matter in prints, drawings, and watercolors reveals a much more versatile artist. Central to all his work was the human figure, ranging from idealized nudes in a landscape to scenes with literary, symbolic, or biblical references. Because Sterner dated very few of his monotypes, it is impossible to trace his stylistic or technical development in the medium. Two compositions of idyllic nudes in a landscape, which appear to have been done around the same time, were, in fact, made twenty years apart. Both reveal a very painterly approach to the medium, created primarily by the light-field method of painting the image on the plate. Sterner's monotypes are remarkable for their delicate equilibrium of spontaneity and control, evident in his application of color and modeling of form.

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