Painted in 1908, the present work portrays Casas's lover, Julia Peraire, in a moment of relaxed abandon. Of a humble background, she had met the artist, twenty-two years her senior, in 1905, and they married in 1922. The passion Canals felt was the inspiration for some of the most sensual works of his career.
Together with Rusiñol (see previous lot) one of the founding members of the El Quatre Gats circle of artists in Barcelona, and a leading representative of the Catalan Modernista movement, Ramón Casas abandoned his studies when he was 11 years old in order to pursue his vocation as a painter. In 1882, aged just 16 years and with the financial support of his father, he travelled to Paris with Santiago Rusiñol. There he studied under Carolus Duran and at the Academie Gervex, where Carrière and Puvis de Chavannes taught. His talent did not go unnoticed, and just a year later he exhibited at the Salon des Champs Elysées.
In 1900 Casas held a solo show at the Sala Parés in Barcelona, establishing Casas as the leading Catalan portrait painter of his day.