The present work was painted circa 1907, the same year as Lebasque's first solo exhibition at the Galerie Georges Petit in Paris. It almost certainly depicts his wife Ella and one of their young daughters, a favorite subject of the artist, in the forest of Pierrefonds near Compiène. Of the artist's penchant for the depiction of such personal subjects, Lisa A. Banner has noted:
Intimism, a term which best describes Lebasque's painting, refers to the close domestic subject matter in such a manner as to convey the personal nature of his response to the thing painted, and the universal familiarity of home and family. There is a sense of calm infused in Lebasque's paintings which celebrate the fullness and richness of life. In his placid scenes of gardens and beaches, terraces and dinner tables, Lebasque portrays his family in particular, but in such a way that he appeals to a larger sense of family gathering and devotion (in Lebasque, exh. cat., Montgomery Gallery, San Francisco, 1986, p. 12).
Two years before Pierrefonds, la promenade en forêt was painted, Lebasque's contemporaries in Paris had debuted their Fauve style of painting at the Salon d'automne. Henri Matisse, André Derain, and Maurice de Vlaminck, among others, juxtaposed bright and often incongruous colors to suggest space and light. In the present work, Lebasque indulges his lifelong fascination with the portrayal of women and children in natural surroundings, yet the emphatic contrast of deep purple and mauve tones with brilliant greens certainly recalls the palette favored by many of his contemporaries. While the figures of the artist's wife and daughter are nearly enveloped by the verdant canopy of trees hovering above them, this plein-air composition is a compelling example of the tenderness and harmony which are hallmarks of Lebasque's oeuvre.