The Bathers, 1929 signed and dated 'S.C. Gile 29' (lower left) oil on board 18 x 15in overall: 25 x 22in
PROVENANCE: Collection of Robert H. Aichele, Sacramento, California
EXHIBITED: Belmont, Notre Dame de Namur University, Wiegand Gallery, The Society of Six: American Masters of Color, March 11 April 19, 2003.
This painting depicts local bathers frolicking in the waters of Belvedere Cove, with the twin laundry buildings in the background. Gile frequently painted along this causeway, where an old drawbridge separated Corinthian Island from Belvedere. He often incorporated the laundry buildings and the bridge into his compositions.
Following their discovery of Impressionist and Fauve techniques, the Society of Six artists changed their palette dramatically, toward bolder and brighter colors. In her book on the Six Nancy Boas notes that they "banished black and bituminous earth tones from their palettes. They rejected tonal paintings and laborious studio work in which a series of smooth layers was built up and glazed one at a time. Instead, as plein-air painters they wanted speed and direct action. They laid down their colors separately on the canvas to mix in the spectator's eye, and sometimes they painted wet-in-wet, applying color over and into colors on the canvas before it dried."
In The Bathers we see aspects of bold separate colors as well as wet-in-wet. Gile uses the reflection of the buildings and figures in the water as an almost double composition, with a looser and more abstract view in the water.