Like his Nabi colleagues of the 1890s, Bonnard sought inspiration in the day-to-day activities of Parisian bourgeois life. Often these scenes were played out in the confines of crowded apartments, theaters or cafés, with somber illumination and fugitive viewpoints. No art movement before the Nabi, including the Impressionists with their outdoor credo, had explored the private space of the modern city-dweller with such searching obsession.
By contrast, Bonnard's art from the turn of the century increasingly avoided interior, Parisian subjects in favor of more broadly composed, rural motifs, often still taking an indoor setting but now with a more luminous palette and without much of the claustrophobia which had marked earlier works. This move was perhaps inspired by his companion, Marthe, who had begun to reject Bonnard's busy social milieu and felt herself drawn to greater seclusion. As a result, each year he would rent a summer house in the valley of the Seine to the north of Paris, drawing inspiration from the landscape around him.
An aspect of Bonnard's art that grew in importance after 1900 was his Impressionist inheritance and its influence is very evident in the present work. In a departure from his earlier Nabi preference for flat pattern, unbroken fields of color and compositions freed from atmospheric effects, the present work makes transient light and modulated color the subject itself. Reflecting on his career in 1935 Bonnard stated: "I have become a painter of landscapes, not because I have painted landscapes--I have done only a few--but because I have acquired the soul of a landscape painter insofar as I have been able to free myself of everything picturesque, aesthetical or any other convention that has been poisoning me" (quoted in A. Terrasse, "Some Thoughts on Pierre Bonnard," Bonnard, exh. cat., Galerie Salis, Salzburg, 1991, n.p.).