In 1909, Hamilton Easter Field, a Brooklyn painter and critic, asked Picasso to create a group of eleven paintings as a decoration for his library. Picasso accepted but, although he worked on the commission intermittently over the next several years, he never completed all eleven of the panels.
Nude Woman may be the first of the paintings Picasso did produce for Field. Its narrow, vertical format, dictated by the terms of the commission, is unusual in the artist's oeuvre, but in other respects the painting is typical of Picasso's analytic cubist style. Details of the figure, a breast, the head, may be made out, but in most respects the painting appears as disembodied shards of modeled form. Those forms are delineated by sharp lines which describe roughly geometric shapes, and which in turn make for a kind of grid pattern across the surface of the canvas. The color scheme of Nude Woman, limited to shades of brown, gray, and black, is also typical of analytic cubism. The muted palette allowed Picasso to concentrate upon the depiction of subtly shifting, overlapping planes in shallow space.