Wanda de Guébriant has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Although Matisse drew in pen and black ink throughout his career, he executed very few broadly-rendered ink drawings after his Fauve period until the 1940s, when he turned to brush and black ink to create a series of drawings that equal the achievement of his richly-shaded charcoal drawings of the same period. Matisse himself referred to these works as having "the special quality of brush drawing, which through a restricted medium, has all the qualities of a painting or a painted mural. It is always colour that is put into play, even when the drawing consists of merely one continuous stroke. Black brush drawings contain, in small, the same elements as coloured paintings; that is to say, differentiations in the quality of the surfaces unified by light" (quoted in J. Flam, Matisse on Art, Berkeley, 1995).
While his paintings of the late 1940s tend to possess a domestic stillness and grandeur appropriate to the assured manner of a master in his old age, the brush and ink works project a surprisingly spontaneous and experimental dynamism. Femme, robe à fleurs depicts an attractive woman with her hair twisted into a modest but youthful braid upon her head, creating a rhythmic pattern that is echoed in her ornate blouse adorned with flowers and a zigzag collar. It is unclear whether the loose, graphic flowers strewn across her blouse are the actual design of her garment or are rather abstract, decorative elements Matisse has added to the composition to create an overall sense of embellishment and motif. Alfred H. Barr has observed that "Matisse during the 1940s seems to have come nearer to the Chinese in his drawing than ever before" (in Matisse: His Art and His Public, New York, 1951, p. 276). It is indeed these bold and expressive late works on paper that exhibit Matisse's unceasing evolution and innovation as an artist.