Matisse painted Jeune fille sur un divan, ruban noir in Nice in 1921, during one of the many sojourns he made to the south of France between 1916 and 1932. Never before had Matisse's physical environment contributed so significantly to the appearance of his art as during the Nice period. With its golden tonalities and warm light, Jeune fille sur un divan exemplifies the canvases of these years. The seductive character of Nice prompts Dominique Fourcade to ask, "Could what happened to Matisse's art between 1917 and 1930--when he lived in this city, this site, its ambience, not to mention its light--have taken place elsewhere?" (D. Fourcade, exh. cat., Henri Matisse: The Early Years in Nice, 1916-1930, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1986, p. 50).
The model for Jeune fille sur un divan, ruban noir was probably Henriette Darricarrire, a major source of inspiration for Matisse from the time of their first meeting in 1920 until 1927. In repose, she "in effect, incarnated the artistic and psychological atmosphere of the 'nioises' years" (J. Cowart, ibid., p. 26).