Pleissner grew up in Brooklyn and took his first trip to Wyoming aged sixteen when he went to a summer camp in Dubois. He spent two summers at camp traveling through Yellowstone Park and a third summer he spent on a dude ranch where Pleissner did much drawing and sketching. Peter Bergh comments on these early trips, 'Those first experiences in the American West were to influence Pleissner's career indelibly, and led to his lifelong interest in hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.' (The Art of Ogden M. Pleissner, Boston, 1984, p. 3).
In the 1920 he studied under Frank DuMond at the Art Students League in New York. The present work was painted a year after his marriage to his first wife Mary Harrison Corbett of Portland, Oregon. At this time he began exhibiting with Harlow MacDonald in New York. In 1930 he also took a job teaching drawing and painting at the Pratt Institute where he taught for several years.
Almost every summer for seventeen years he and his wife moved to Dubois, Wyoming, and stayed at the C-M Ranch, run by Charlie Moore. There he painted and fished and was taught to shoot by one of his patrons Eversley Childs. Through these visits he met many of his future collectors who were avid sportsmen.
The lake represented is probably Pinto Lake in the Wind River Range, Wyoming. A similar lake is featured in Lost Lake, Wyoming (1940; Private Collection, illustrated op. cit., pl. 6). Bergh writes of why Pleissner is considered amongst the most accomplished American sporting artists, 'One can always sense, in Pleissner's sporting pictures, that he is painting the thing he likes to look at in the places he likes to be. His Western landscapes of the thirties could be considered his first sporting paintings, and even here his ability to depict the sporting scene and to capture the essence of being outdoors is striking. This ability contributed a great deal to the quality and interest of his landscapes and certainly furthered his professional career.' (op. cit., p. 73).