This drawing depicts a room in Matisse's apartment in the Hotel Regina in Nice. It is of particular interest since it features the fourth version of Matisse's celebrated series of reliefs of women seen from the back (Nu de dos IV of 1931). Of tremendous importance to him, Matisse always kept the plaster version of this sculpture with him in his room or studio (a widely published photograph exists of Matisse's studio in Nice in 1953 showing Nu de dos IV in plaster together with a copy of Michelangelo's Bound Slave).
"Matisse's four bronze reliefs generally known as the Backs represent one of the artist's most distinctive achievements. This set of imposing, life-sized reliefs, executed at intervals between 1909 and 1931, are Matisse's largest works in sculpture as well as his most ambitious sculptural undertaking ... They are united by the penetrating analysis of a single motif, and together they afford vivid insights into the artist's mind at critical moments as he wrestled with new pictorial problems. That the reliefs subsequently have enjoyed the status of major public masterpieces is incidental to their original role as private studies related to paintings in progress ... Back IV, the last relief in the Back series, was executed some 15 years after the completion of Back III. Although it is chronologically distant from its three predecessors, Back IV nonetheless served the same basic function as did the others - the clarification and ordering of Matisse's thought at a crucial time in his career ... The brilliance of Matisse's achievement in Back IV was that it harmonized the relationship between volume and ground, preparing the way for the massive yet flat figures on the walls of the Barnes Foundation. Likewise, its symmetry and simplicity anticipated developments in his paintings and cut-outs." (M. P. Mezzatesta, Henri Matiss Sculptor/Painter, Fort Worth, 1984, pp. 79-80, 133 and 135.)