Leaning on a fabric-covered table and resting her head in her hand, this young woman looks out with an expression that’s hard to read. Artists often use this pose to portray melancholy.
Cézanne built up the woman's powerful physical presence and the space she occupies by juxtaposing bold, individual paint strokes. This work has an enormous sense of volume; it seems almost to expand and contract. You can see this in the background — the space behind and around the woman is ambiguous. How far away is the wall? Is she sitting or standing? This uncertainty gives the composition tension and movement.