Soutine’s depiction of the model Eva epitomizes the artist’s portraiture of the late 1920s, characterized by a great expressiveness of pose, rhythmically charged brushstrokes and strong color contrasts. Regardless of the age or social statusof the sitter, Soutine's portraits are imbued with a strong physical presence, as well as with uniqueness and individuality.
As the authors of the catalogue raisonné of Soutine's work have commented: "While his portraits do convey inner realities and make spiritual statements, they are primarily rooted in concrete perception. Though Soutine may project his inner turbulence and most personal feelings onto his subjects, the viewer never loses sight of a particular physical entity being carefully observed and experienced. Even the distortions and exaggerations of facial features and the shiftings and dislocations of body parts do not destroy the essential recognition in each painting of a certain person and a reality specific to him or her" (Maurice Tuchman, Esti Dunow & Klaus Perls, Chaïm Soutine, New York, p. 509).
Soutine's pictures, known for their textural bravura and focus on the sensual beauty of unusual subjects, astounded his contemporaries. Whether portraits of the working class, depictions of local monuments, landscapes or animals, he was able to invest vernacular subjects with a raw beauty that set him apart from the rest of the avant-garde. The art historian Élie Faure wrote a monograph on Soutine's work in which he extolled the artist for the passion behind his paintings, including the present work, and the quasi-religious fervor that he felt they expressed. Faure's analysis of these pictures, although grippingly poetic in its formal descriptions, met with much controversy and ultimately alienated the artist from the author.
Faure provided a description of the artist that captures accurately the intensity of his character. "If you saw him in the street," Faure wrote, "in the pouring rain, with his fugitive look, his hat pulled down over his eyes, his beautiful, small, pale hands, this Kalmouk's face with his straight hair covering his forehead, you would feel as if you were watching unfold the drama of the Magi pushing towards the star [of Bethlehem] in search of rest" (quoted in Norman L. Kleeblatt and Kenneth E. Silver, An Expressionist in Paris, The Paintings of Chaim Soutine (exhibition catalogue); The Jewish Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Cincinatti Art Museum, 1998-99, p. 34).