Françoise Gilot - New Now: Modern & Contemporary Art London Friday, April 19, 2024 | Phillips
  • “The warm mists were not lacking either in May of 1956 when Luc and I spent a month in Tunisia, mostly at Sidi-Bou-Said, but also in Tunis, Hammamet and Kairouan. The warm steam inside the hammam, where a friend accompanied me, enveloped people and things in an opalescent mist.”
    —Françoise Gilot

    Intimate in scale and subject, Petit Bain Turc was conceived at a pivotal moment in Françoise Gilot’s career. Gilot’s visit to Tunisia with her newlywed husband Luc Simon in May 1956 and the birth of her third daughter, Aurélia, in October would provide ample material for works in the following year. Moved by the lifestyle and customs of the Berber nomads and the rich sights, colours, and sounds of bustling marketplaces and hammams, these works form an important part of Gilot’s long career and her persistent fascination for other cultures and our shared humanity.


    Recalling the exoticism and academism of Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and Jean-Léon Gérôme, in Petit Bain Turc shades of pink, brown, and red softly illuminate and model the form of the two figures, generating a flickering atmosphere that evokes both heat and stillness. Absorbed in the ritualistic and restorative act of communal bathing associated with Turkish baths, the setting enables relaxation and self-reflection. Rendered through earthly tones alongside an abbreviated brush and palette, Gilot captures the sepia luminescence and warm comfort of the hammam, gently combining cast shadow with crisp outline.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, Paris
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Petit Bain Turc

signed 'Françoise Gilot' on the stretcher
oil on linen
22.2 x 16.3 cm (8 3/4 x 6 3/8 in.)
Painted in 1956.

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Aurélia Engel and it is registered in the artist’s archives under no. 380.

Full Cataloguing

£4,000 - 6,000 ‡♠

Sold for £15,875

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Gibbs
Head of New Now: Modern & Contemporary Art
+44 20 7901 7993

New Now: Modern & Contemporary Art

London Auction 19 April 2024