From the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia:
Matisse painted this portait of a young woman at the beginning of the Second World War. Lydia Nikolaevna Delectorskaya, who posed for the artist, was from 1930 until the artist's death in 1954 his secretary, assistant and favourite model. In the year this portrait was painted she was 29 years old. The young woman's face is calm and beautiful, a slight asymmetry giving it a unique and expressive individuality. Line dominates the image, the living expression of the 70-year-old artist's feelings as he works on the portrait, absorbed by the young woman's charm and femininity. The soft pink of the face and the slender neck combined with the blue and turquoise perfectly capture the sitter's youth and freshness.