Inscribed at graphite at lower right, "K.X.R.".
Ker-Xavier Roussel was a central figure in the Nabis, a group of predominantly French artists who formed a secret brotherhood in Paris in 1888-9. Their work was indebted to Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and can be characterized by flat planes of color, often outlined in dark contours. After 1893, however, Roussel moved away from such bold, colorful compositions to small-format paintings and drawings in chalk and graphite. This black chalk drawing might be a mythological subject, with a female nude standing beneath the canopy of a large tree and perhaps a centaur or animal at the left of the tree trunk. Roussel frequently executed mythological subjects staged in rustic landscapes such as this one.