This drawing is a study of the artist's wife Annette, ne Arm, whom Giacometti met in Geneva during the Second World War. In 1946 she came to Paris to live with Giacometti, and much to the surprise of the artist's friends, who thought he would remain a life-long bachelor, they were married in 1949. Their marriage was at times strained and stormy, but her years with him proved to be the most productive period of his career. Giacometti's brother Diego served as the artist's most frequent male model; Annette became his most frequent female sitter.
"She... complained about being indispensable to her husband's work. She had reason. For more than a decade, she had been posing for him incessantly, a cruelly punishing routine. He insisted on the immobility of the model, who sometimes had to stand naked for hours in the drafty studio, where it was in addition her duty to tend to the stove. Indispensable, however, she was. She not only provided him with a model always at hand, patient and submissive, but offered the complete, uninterrupted familiarity with a naked body which is essential to true originality in its representation. Still, the work was exhausting. The model could confuse her person with the picture or sculpture as a cause of the artist's frustration and rage when he found himself unable to reproduce the figure before him exactly as he saw her. Sometimes he would scream in fury or groan in despair. But even as the model was essential to the effort, she was expendable. The figure and features of another person could do as well, producing the same frustration and rage, presenting the same problems. The model was everything and nothing, an appearance rather than a person, required on both counts to accept with composure the outcome of the artist's pursuit. It was a predicament made to test the self-possession of strong personalities." (J. Lord, Giacometti: A Biography, New York, 1985, p. 365)
Annette outlived her husband by almost three decades and was a devoted custodian of his legacy and fame. She died in 1995.