'E.O.W.' - Estella (Stella) West - was a principal model for Auerbach's nudes and female heads until 1973. She began posing regularly for Auerbach in the early 1950s and by 1959 was the subject of over thirty paintings and drawings. This painting is one of three versions which Auerbach worked on between May 1957 and April 1958. The paint's thickness is the result of hundreds of sittings governed by Auerbach's principle that 'Nothing can be left out ... you have to bury the irrelevent in painting somehow'. The way the image seems buried in a dense accretion of paint thus records Auerbach's quest to find a visual equivalent for his 'raw experience' of the sitter.