Oil on canvas
72 x 76in (182.9 x 193cm)
Gift of the George McNeil Charitable Trust
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1908, George McNeil was an important member of the first generation of Abstract Expressionists. Between the 1940s and mid-1960s, McNeil's art was decisively abstract. His later paintings, including Bather #28, explored ways to expand beyond Abstract Expressionism, balancing abstraction and painterly figuration. Similarly, some of McNeil's contemporaries - such as Willem de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, and Philip Guston -- incorporated the figure into their otherwise abstract oeuvre.
Bather #28 not only employs a classical subject as a figurative theme, it clearly demonstrates McNeil's ability to merge spontaneous brushwork with a representational image, fusing two often opposing approaches in a unified way.