Braque returned to Paris in 1940 and remained there throughout the war. Finding it difficult to work during the Occupation, he painted relatively few pictures at that time. For the most part, he painted still-lifes and his subject matter was related almost exclusively to food and common household objects. "There is no symbolism in this, it merely expresses the artist's view on the preoccupations of a city in war-time and his preference for a somber palette in these works reflected the austere life of the time" (D. Cooper, Braque, the Great Years, Chicago, 1972, p. 82).
Braque's still-lifes of this period are full of strong contrasts, rich in texture and have a complexity of composition developed from his experiments with Cubism. In the present work the shapes of the objects are simplified and, although distinct, appear quite flattened. The dark background, colored in differing shades of ochre and brown, lends the painting considerable depth while the grayish-white highlights, particularly on the vertical plane, balance the composition. Though the burnished brass faucet first captures our attention, the elliptical sink in fact anchors the picture and serves to draw our eye around the canvas. Thus, as is characteristic of Braque, sharp angles and straight lines are combined with curving forms in a harmonious and subtly rhythmic composition La toilette dans la cuisine is a powerful evocation of the artist's lifestyle during the Occupation and represents a mature stage in his quest to reproduce and recreate concepts of space and form.