After his exile during the War in Amsterdam, De Smet returned to Belgium in 1919 and settled in the picturesque village of St. Martens-Latem in 1922. During his time in Holland, De Smet came under the influence of Expressionism and Cubism. His style had changed greatly during the war years and he was now about to embark on his mature period. In the mid-1920s De Smet had found his style, which would change very little over the next twenty years. His art of Realism, which is clearly visible in La vie du ferme painted in 1928, show the characteristics typical for De Smet in this period: robust simplicity, internal vigour and obsessional motionlessness.
De Smet was able to create his own world full of the expressive quality of the hard-working Flemish farmer and his family. Extreme simplification gave his work an evocative power and force of expression of rare intensity. Although De Smet would choose numerous urban subjects in the 1920s, he kept a strong interest for the rural subject matters he found in his trusted surroundings. Since 1926 de Smet was under contract of the famous gallery Le Centaure in Brussels. The confrontation with the French painters he saw in this gallery influenced him and stimulated him to renew his style every time. In 1928 and 1929 he painted a series of impressive farm scenes like La vie du ferme for Le Centaure. These artistic innovations made the Flemish rural life, which had suffered a lot during the Great War, soft and gentle - not to say idyllic. This rustic and naive manner of painting and the charming rural setting was characteristic for the new style of De Smet.