In 1904, Pablo Picasso moved from his home in Spain to the bohemian Paris neighborhood of Montparnasse, beginning his lifelong relationship with the French avant-garde. However, in the summer of 1906, Picasso and his female companion Fernande Olivier (French, 1881–1966) traveled back to Spain, where they stayed in the remote village of Gósol in the Pyrenees. Happy to get away from the bustle of Paris, Picasso focused on his work. At the time, the artist was engaged in what has become known as his Rose Period, during which he rendered his subjects in vivid red, orange, pink, and earthy tones. Fernande appears in numerous compositions of this era, and she served as the model for both of the women depicted in La toilette. This painting is a poignant study in contrasts. The figure on the left is nude and stands frontally as she views at herself in a mirror held by the second figure. This act of self-admiration is juxtaposed against the timid demeanor of the clothed woman on the right, who presents quietly in profile. Picasso’s dual portrait can be seen as an idealized view of the two sides of his mistress: the sensual and the modest. After three months, Picasso returned to Paris. There he became interested in a more primitive style and made a radical break from his almost naturalistic treatment of the figure in works such as La toilette—a decision that charted his path toward Cubism.