The famous artist captures his young mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter in this active painting, portraying her as a floating zeppelin. The original French title of this artwork is Baigneuse au Bord de le Mer.
Cubism allowed artist Picasso to find new possibilities for his work through this augmented reality. Cubist portraits like this were not restricted by reality, and so body parts could be stretched, squashed or rotated in any way that felt right to him.
Bather with Beach Ball is similar in content to another famous work by American pop artist, Roy Lichtenstein. That artist would adapt reality into his own cartoon style.
Pablo Picasso produced a host of work related to the beach, and people's behaviour on it. It was an opportunity to witness fun and frolics, with a reserved nature softened during the holiday period. Picasso also produced a sculpture entitled, Bather, Baigneuse (1931) which places Marie-Thérès in a similar pose.
This painting was featured in a significant exhibition in 2018, entitled Love, Fame Tragedy at The Tate Modern alongside several supporting study drawings which preceded the final artwork.
Marie-Thérèse Walter was portrayed frequently during her passioniate affair with artist Picasso, many years her senior. The likes of The Dream make use of her striking blonde hair whilst Bather with Beach Ball focuses more on pose and activity. The gradiented shapes almost displays sculpture within painting. The majority of seaside paintings feature a little or no figures, concentrating on the beauty of the scenery but Picasso offers a different take here with fun and frolics on the beach.
Many families have special memories from trips to the seaside and an artist looking to display family life would be drawn into these types of compositions. Alternatively, the romantic nature of the seaside also inspired the likes of Jack Vettriano with The Singing Butler. The impressionist artists, by contrast, would focus on the movement of the waves and reflections of light across the scene.
Related paintings from Picasso's career include The Bathers, 1918, which is from his neoclassical period. Also from this period was Two Women Running on the Beach, 1922.