The dark colors and somber mood in this painting exhibit what had been come to be known as Matisse’s dark period, a time when he was going through personal difficulties. One personal difficulty was that Matisse was not able to find many buyers for his works, which made it hard to provide for his family. His wife had to open a dress shop in order to help provide for the family. These hardships were compounded when Matisse and his wife, Amelie, were found to be scapegoats for a conspiracy involving Amelie’s mother, a housekeeper for the Humbert family. Amelie was forced to close her shop, and Matisse was left to provide for his entire family again. This can partially explain Matisse’s shift during this time to more saleable canvases.