From the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City:
Beginning in December 1917 Matisse spent the winter months in the south of France. This painting features several elements that reappear in other of his so-called Nice-period works: boldly patterned wallpaper, elaborately pierced and appliquéd textiles of North African origin, additional works by the artist (in this case, a plaster of a reclining female figure is visible atop the mirrored armoire), and an alluring view of palm trees and the Mediterranean Sea outside the studio window. The woman shown seated before the easel was Matisse's favorite model at the time, Henriette Darricarrère. An accomplished musician and ballerina, she suffered from stage fright so severe that by 1924 she had decided to forsake live performance for a career in the visual arts. Matisse began instructing her the year this canvas was painted.