The end of World War I brought many changes to Van Dongen's life. Separated from his wife and daughter, who spent the war years in Rotterdam, he began a ten-year affair with Léo Jacob, known as Léo Jasmy or Jasmy La Dogaresse, who possessed the 'beauté et l'élégance d'un grand mannequin' (L. Chaumeil, Van Dongen, Geneva, 1967, p. 168). They moved into spacious quarters at 29, rue de la Villa Saïd in 1917, where he painted, displayed his work and lavishly entertained. Jasmy's ambition and social connections gained Van Dongen's entry into the most fashionable salons of the post-war period, known as les années folles.
'During the 1920s, Van Dongen became one of the most talked of figures in the French art world and it is only necessary to run through the volume of press cuttings belonging to Dolly Van Dongen [the artist's daughter] to be aware of the fact that his name was news...What appealed to him about the années folles were their movement and gaiety. He once said: 'I passionately love the life of my time, so animated, so feverish. Ah! Life is even more beautiful than painting'' (D. Sutton, exh. cat. Cornelis Theodorus Maris Van Dongen (1877-1968), Arizona, 1971, p. 46).
Intoxicated by the heady, liberated atmosphere of the times, he reveled in the new types that emerged on the scene at the most fashionable Parisian salons and beach resorts, where he became an habitué. The foreground of La baie d'Antibes, most likely painted in the winter of 1921, is dominated by one of these new types, the long, sinuous figure of a glamorously dressed, emancipated woman. He makes striking use of single blocks of vivid green and pink to describe the background of this flamboyant, monumental painting. In 1922, Van Dongen acquired in Jasmy's name the even more opulent residence of 5, rue Juliette-Lamber, where the present painting is seen hanging in Van Dongen's ground floor studio, which he also used as a Salle d'Exposition.