While staying at his family home in Montroig during the summer of 1931, Miró made an important series of about thirty paintings on a high quality grade of Ingres paper, in which he used thinned oil with touches of pastel. As seen in Femme mangeant une pomme, Miró worked quickly in a spontaneous and improvised manner, blocking in bands or patches of pure, luminous color, over which he drew, in black paint, signs that were boldly composed of emphatic straight and curved lines. Jacques Dupin has written: "These works are first and foremost plastic explorations, characterized by the rapidity with which they were made and their forcefulness. Miró here invented a technique that enabled him to combine spontaneous expression with plastic rigor through a process of contrasted operations" (in Miró, Barelona, 1993, p. 164).
In these paintings Miró completely deconstructed the figure. He reduced it to its component geometry with an uncompromising severity previously unseen in his work, and divested it of any trace of the organic physicality that it had enjoyed in the surrealist pictures of the previous decade. Miró had achieved "the total disembodiment, the complete physical denaturation of the figure, so as to make its integral plastic recomposition possible. The figure now seems to be no more than a theme, a pretext for experiments with form or, perhaps, for athletic demonstrations of a singular efficacy" (ibid., p. 165). Miró's experimentation with this extreme form of linear graphism is similar to the welded wire and metal sculptures that his fellow countrymen, Pablo Picasso and Julio González, were creating in Paris almost simultaneously. The superimposition of simplified line over color shapes may have provided a precedent for Fernand Léger's New York paintings of the 1940s.
This process might have resulted in an arid if vigorous formalism, such as that which characterized some the geometric painting of the Abstraction-Création group that flourished in Paris during the mid-1930s. Miró's sense of imaginative playfulness, however, as well as his deep knowledge of human nature, ensured that this minimalist sign language would remain viable, and indeed excel as a communicative narrative vehicle, even if its chief attraction was its visually striking aspect. In the present painting the bold graphic style is well suited to its subject. The title hints at an allusion to the story of Eve in the Book of Genesis. In Miró's sign form, she becomes a more generalized and primal female symbol, and her apparently voracious appetite for the fruit, which may stand for nourishment and indeed life itself, is the kind of life-affirming activity that Miró believed to be emblematic of the most profound aspects of human nature. Just as Miró's line and color are--in Dupin's words--" dissociated and yet inseparable" (ibid.), so it is with the means and meaning in Miró's art, which are like the dancer and the dance: neither aspect can exist without the other, and as each flourishes, so it gives life to the other.