1916; Oil on canvas, 8' 7" x 12' 10" Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
This painting was very important for Matisse. The large composition of this piece leads into much later versions of "Dance"(1931-1933). This painting caused him to question the relationship of figure sizes to the canvas. The ultimate version of "Dance" permits the figures to stretch outside the picture frame. Also, the strong demarcated verticals in "Bathers by the River" led to the use of the wedge-shaped background in the later "Dance".