Henri Laurens worked in a constant effort to reconcile contradictions in his sculpture: "The contradiction of weight and lightnessappears in all Laurens's mature sculpture, whether it refers directly to the sea or not. They all have this 'slow-motion' quality which emphasizes the movement or growth of a body within a medium In fact the multi-faceted, disjointed structure of Cubism here arrives at a completely personal re-interpretation by Laurens, as the hidden articulator of these plump volumes" (G. Brett, "Henri Laurens: A Slow-Motion Quality," in exh. cat., Henri Laurens 1985-1954, The Hayward Gallery, London, 1971, p. 9).
In the present work, Laurens achieves a fullness and roundness in the figure while working just outside the parameters of Cubism. Laurens's gift for delicately poised figures can be traced back to his early days as an apprentice to an ornamental sculptor. Trained to carve the surfaces of new buildings, it was here that he developed his fine sense of measured workmanship. The present work anticipates the marine-inspired sculpture Laurens was to produce beginnning in 1930. As Guy Brett has stated:
One motif that runs right through his work from beginning to end you can watch the approach of this marine rhythm. It is a figure lying on her side, propped on one arm, with her other arm or a curling form suggesting a wrap flowing along her flank and out beyond her legs Laurens slowly softened the cubist angleswhile the head and torso curve upwards, sometimes like a form of waving seaplant, and the legs spring upwards to float in the stream. (G. Brett, ibid., p. 8)
As Alberto Giacometti once stated, "For me, Laurens's sculpture, more than any other, really is a projection of the artist himself in space, rather like a three-dimensional shadow. His very way of breathing, of touching, of feeling, of thinking, becomes concrete, becomes sculptural" (A. Giacometti, "Henri Laurens: A Sculptor as Seen by a Sculptor," quoted in ibid., p. 14).