From the Saint Louis Art Museum :
Three nude women on a featureless green beach congregate awkwardly around a brown turtle. The bathers' attentions, both to the diminutive creature on the ground and to each other, are compromised by their self-absorbed postures and lack of eye contact.
Simple and abstract, this monumental composition is a radical reworking of Three Bathers, a smaller painting that Matisse completed during the previous year. The details present in the earlier work-the sailboats, the bathers' towels, and the radiant hues of Mediterranean summer- have been replaced by three strips of muted color, which represent land, water, and sky.