The subject of this drawing is Rosabianca Skira, née Venturi, the wife of the art publisher Albert Skira (1904-1972). She was the daughter of renowned art historian Lionello Venturi. In 1928 Albert Skira founded Editions Skira in Lausanne with the intention of commissioning the greatest living artists to illustrate masterpieces of literature past and present. In 1932, he published Les Poesies de Mallarmé, with 29 etchings by Matisse.
Rosabianca wrote widely on Renaissance and Impressionist masters under the name Skira-Venturi, and her titles were published by Editions Skira. The present drawing was probably done around the same time that Matisse made a charcoal portrait of Albert, on the 20th anniversary of his publishing enterprise (sale, Christie's, Geneva, 19 May 1999, lot 124). Following Rosabianca's death in 1998, Christie's Geneva sold the contents of their personal library in the aforementioned sale.