During the 1940s, Laurens portrayed the female figure in a new lyrical style. The sculptures of Aristide Maillol and Henri Matisse prompted Laurens to create sensuous bronzes that emphasized graceful, flowing shapes of the female body. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler commented, "The appearance of curvilinear forms in Laurens's work in no way signaled a renunciation of Cubism but was part of a normal evolution toward a new orientation" (quoted in W. Hofmann, The Sculptures of Henri Laurens, New York, 1970, p. 50).
L'automne bears a strong resemblance to Matisse's 1907 Nu couch. They both depict the nude in a reclining pose, with her arm raised over her head and her legs crossed. Furthermore, the agitated surface, physical distortions and exaggerated torsions of the Matisse sculpture are clearly evident in the present work.
The pose of the reclining nude refers to Ariadne, a figure from Roman art associated with Venus, the goddess of earthly love.