The title of this painting refers to the date of its completion. Soulages began experimenting with abstraction in 1947, using heavy brushstrokes of black paint against a light background. This calligraphic style was to become increasingly vigorous and gestural throughout the 1950s. Soulages has said that for him abstraction is a means of exploring his imagination and inner experience. In 1950 he explained: 'I work, guided by inner impulse, a longing for certain forms, colours and materials, and it is not until they are on the canvas that they tell me what I want'.