From the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia:
Matisse painted this portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya eight years after the Young Woman in a Blue Blouse (also in the Hermitage). We no longer see the captivating charm of youth and tenderness. Here the harsh line which divides the face into planes of yellow and blue makes the image something mysterious and inevitable. The bright sunny side of the face and its mysterous blue alter-ego are like light and shade, the eternal contrasts which lie within the human soul. Combined, these two colours give birth to the green of the luxuriant hair which forms a marvellous crown on the woman's head. Through the use of colour contrasts and ornamental expressiveness, the artist with deceptive simplicity conveys the unusual nature of this model, who so captivated him over the last years of his life.