THE BATHERS (circa 1967)

Perhaps one of Lewis' most striking artworks - revealing his inner struggles. The constant seesaw between the pleasures of the flesh - and the pleasures OF flesh. Just as Gauguin was tempted by the lures of South Sea beauties - so is the artist torn between his yearning for a blonde bit of stuff on the one hand - and a plate of fried gefilte fish balls (just out of frame to the right of the canvas.)

The artist claimed that his inspiration for this masterpiece was an advertisement he saw in a Sunday colour supplement - an advert for a saucy fortnight in Torremolinos. Part of this was probably true. Certainly there was no one in his life with thighs that thin - nor hair that yellow. Yet notice that the male figure in the picture is totally disinterested in this raving beauty. His eyes are fixed in the near distance - to where a vendor of kosher fish products has set up a stall. Amidst the tropical paradise and sensual presence of this daffodil-haired temptress - all this stud can think of is a small morsel of chopped carp and pike - lightly battered in matzoh meal and deep fried to a golden hue. Such is the duality of man's existence....