Marcel Gromaire debuted as a painter at the time Cubism dominated the Montparnasse circuit. While not immune to the prevailing trends of the time, from early on Gromaire's signature style was apparent.
Thematically Gromaire was attached to two predominant subjects throughout his career : land laborers and the female nude. Brought on by memories of his childhood in Noyelles-sur-Sambre, those who tilled the land remained central to Gromaire's painterly evolution. However the female figure was the prevailing subject throughout his career, and it is here that his monumental forms, solid and sculptural, take on their full force. In utter refusal of all things ephemerous, Gromaire's women are always generalized but never indifferent.
The first owner of this work was Dr. Maurice Girardin (1884-1951), dentist, collector and founder of the Galerie Licorne (1921). Between 1920 and 1930, Girardin purchased every single work the artist produced. Through his activity at the Galerie Licorne, Girardin also ardently supported the works of Maria Blanchard, Georges Rouault and Bernard Buffet. His donation of five hundred works to the French State, including eighty paintings by Gromaire, prompted the opening of the Muse d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris at the Palais de Tokyo.