De Smet pursued his formal training as an artist, with his brother Gustave, at the Ghent Academy. In 1906 Léon moved to Laethem-Saint-Martin on the Lys river near Ghent. Here, he and other young Belgians, fresh from the Academy, mastered a new aesthetic derived from the Impressionist canon and the pointillist technique of Seurat and Van Rysselberghe - Luminism. Its protagonist was Emile Claus, then at the height of his reputation and Léon and his circle would begin to see the landscapes of Ghent and its surroundings, interiors, portraits and nudes, through the light-filled eyes of this master of Luminism.
In this ambitious yet intimate composition, De Smet has, with true mastery and skill, assembled a group of objects, and created a still life, bursting with vibrancy, charm and elegance. In a flash, as Paul Hasaerts has noted, he gave his home the jovial aspect of a rustic lodging: printed fabrics, vibrant furniture, popular prints, shells, folkloric sculptures and bunches of flowers. (P. Hasaerts, Laethem-Saint-Martin, Brussels, 1966, p. 187).