Gaudier met Sophie Brzeska, a Polish emigrée ten years his senior, in 1910.
The two soon became companions
and, though their relationship remained unconsummated, Gaudier added her surname to his for the sake of propriety.
The strong colour of pastels such as this, and of some of Gaudier's sculptures, was a response to Asian art, such as Japanese painting, Tibetan textiles and Russian ballet designs. He was also interested
in the strongly-coloured paintings of Paul Gauguin and of the Fauves, and had
met JD Fergusson, a Scottish follower
of the Fauves.