When Lebasque moved to Paris in 1885, he frequented the atélier of Léon Bonnat, the French painter, collector, and teacher at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Influenced by Bonnat as well as his fellow students Pierre Bonnard and Edouard Vuillard, Lebasque adopted the intimiste style, of which the present work is a compelling example. Following the example of their predecessors such as Vermeer and Chardin, Lebasque and his contemporaries in Paris during the early years of the 20th Century frequently depicted scenes of women and children in domestic environments.
In the mid-1920s, Lebasque moved from his home in Paris to Le Cannet, a town north of Cannes on the French Riviera. During these years, Lebasque continued painting landscapes and domestic scenes, but increasingly focused on the depiction of female nudes in rich and sumptuous environments. Influenced by his friend and neighbor Henri Matisse, with whom Lebasque had founded the Salon d'automne in Paris in 1903, he developed a penchant for the depiction of lavish patterning in interior spaces.
Suffused with suggestions of warm, natural light, Lebasque's languorous Nu à la peau de léopard recalls Matisse's depiction of voluptuous odalisques in exotic settings throughout the 1920s. The texture of the leopard rug and the upholstery on which the figure rests is suggested through the artist's use of airy brushwork. The tinges of green at the extreme edges of the woman's figure hint at the wild use of color favored by Matisse and his fellow fauve painters; however, in palette the present work is perhaps more closely related to the work of Camille Pissarro, with whom Lebasque had also studied in Paris.
Of the nudes painted by Lebasque in the 1920s, Lisa A. Banner has written:
[these nudes were] the culmination of [Lebasque's] intimist manner of painting--the celebration of the female form as fertile, warm, and inspiring...Matisse's nudes of the same period, painted in his neighboring villa on the Riviera, share his rich decorative sense, but approach the nude in a more intellectual style, as opposed to Lebasque's sensuous style. Lebasque painted his young models in poses of penetrating intimacy and subtle clarity (in Lebasque, exh. cat., Montgomery Gallery, San Francisco, 1986, pp. 70 and 72).