This oil painting is one of at least three variants of this composition treated by Lévy-Dhurmer, one of which is also an oil, the other a pastel.
The subject represents a family of Russian Jewish emigrants, probably on the transatlantic liner, SS Rotterdam (the name is partly legible on the life buoy in one of the other versions of this subject), looking westwards towards the setting sun. The symbolism of the subject is quite explicit, with the light of the setting sun representing new hope for a future in America. This optimism, however, is tempered with pathos: the woman's cowled expression, the father's staring eyes and protective stance towards his daughter seem to hint at past hardships.
Lévy-Dhurmer is best known today as a Symbolist painter who normally eschewed any type of social commentary in his paintings. However, as this painting attests, it is clear that as a Jewish artist, he was clearly moved by the plight of the many Jews who fled Russian pogroms at the turn of the last century.