This painting is one of a group of bathing scenes that Swedish artist Anders Zorn painted in 1888. Zorn captures a single moment during a bright summer morning at the seashore. Executed outdoors on a small island near Stockholm, Zorn gives the impression that he has caught a spontaneous moment, although he almost certainly completed studies of the figures before creating this oil painting.
The painting likely entered Isabella Stewart Gardner's collection as a gift in early 1896, and inn May of that year, Zorn wrote enthusiastically to her: “You ask me what I think of the Morning Toilet. Beautiful! Beautiful! Best thing I ever did!” The Zorn's sensually frank nudes were less popular in the United States than his society portraits. Morning Toilet is, therefore, a rarity in American collections, and at one point, this painting was even censored. Sometime after this painting arrived in Boston, the woman's pubic area was retouched to make the scene more modest—although the retouching has since been removed.