Wanda de Guébriant has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this work with a certificate dated 18.3.91.
In a letter describing his 1940 painting The Dream, Matisse mentioned his fascination with the intricate embroidery and rich colours of a Rumanian blouse, '...which must have belonged to a princess' (Paris, Bibliothèque National, Matisse l'oeuvre gravé,1970,p.93)
Matisse's interest in oriental themes first emerged in the 1920s when he began to express an interest in the interplay of ornamental patterns. This fascination with decorative designs is seen in the present work Femme á la blouse roumaine which followed several series of drawings and oils of the same subject, culminating in a finished piece in October 1940. Unlike in the finished oil where the patterns of the blouse and skirt are reduced to give colour its full force, here it is the quality of line and the exploration of intricate detail that holds his interest.
Drawing, to Matisse, was the ultimate medium for depicting the female form, as he remarked in a letter to Jean Cassou, 'Why don't you paint? drawing is after all the female, and painting the male...'(9 April, 1952).