Max Stern, of Montreal's Dominion Gallery, purchased this painting directly from the artist in Paris in 1956. This work was therefore the first to reveal to the Montreal public the new style Borduas had developed after his move to Paris. The artist himself spoke of the “considerable simplifying leap” taken in his purely black and white paintings. It is not surprising that these paintings caused quite a sensation in Montreal.
The title suggests that the black is “expanding” in all directions, invading the white, like the “expanding universe” described by astrophysicists. But here, it is not matter that is expanding, but the void, the cosmic night.