Jacques Chalom des Cordes will include this painting in his forthcoming Van Dongen catalogue raisonné being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.
After World War II, Kees Van Dongen resumed work on his lucrative portrait commissions. The present painting depicts Lucie Valore, the wife of the artist Maurice Utrillo. She had married Utrillo when he was fifty-two years old and lived with him in the small town of Le Vesinet, to the west of Paris. In the catalogue that accompanied the Van Dongen exhibition at the University of Arizona in 1971, William Steadman notes "(Van Dongen) made no secret of the fact that he liked painting women...He was anxious to render the long line of a woman trained by sport, with large eyes, long lashes, satin or opaque skin" (Cornelis Theodorus Marie van Dongen, exh. cat., University of Arizona, 1971, p. 50).
Over the course of his celebrated career, Van Dongen painted female subjects from both extremes of society, prostitutes and members of the demi-monde. The present picture belongs to this later group in his oeuvre and it exemplifies his interest in conveying a sense of "modernity" to his compositions. Lucie Valore is posed in a white satin evening dress and mink stole, seated on a Louis XV giltwood settee, her arms and neck sparkling with pearls and diamonds, and her hair elegantly coifed. The intensity of this portrait is underscored by its bold application of paint, evocative palette and uncompromising frontal gaze. During this period Van Dongen also painted portraits of the Aga Kahn, the Duc d'Audiffret-Pasquier, the singer Maurice Chevalier, as well as Maurice Utrillo.