Yuri Annenkov was one of the most eminent figures of the Russian avant-garde, who, like his fellow émigré artists, such as Boris Grigoriev, Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov, achieved significant popularity both at home and abroad. Annenkov was a man of many unique and versatile talents making a name for himself as a successful painter, graphic artist, book illustrator, designer for theatre and film and even writer (he often wrote under the pseudonym Boris Temiryazev). In 1924 he left Russia and eventually settled in Paris, where he had previously resided as a student of Maurice Denis and Félix Vallotton in 1911-1913.
During his fruitful Parisian period of the 1920s-1930s, Annenkov produced a substantial number of paintings and drawings. In contrast with the erratic dynamism of the artist’s work from his Russian period, Annenkov’s later work was preoccupied with flat, decorative surface. This was partly due to Annenkov’s interest in theatre design and its conventions of spatial construction. Jeune femme à sa toilette is a characteristic example of the artist’s freer style of his Parisian period, in which he combines large colour planes with bold and distinct outlines and a subdued pastel palette. It appears that the figure of the young woman, who could have been modelled on Annenkov’s second wife, and the interior of the room emerge from or soar into an abstract colourful space. The patterns of flowers and leaves in the upper half of the composition, combined with its unconventional spatial arrangement, emphasise the decorative effect of the surface and clearly represent Annenkov’s ornamental style.