Denise Bazetoux has confirmed the authenticity of this painting.
Lebasque began his career as a painter in the mid-1880s executing borders for Pierre Puvis de Chauvannes' large murals and coloring religious statuary in the Saint-Sulpice quarter. He was attracted to the work of the Impressionists and their later followers. In the early 1890s he was also on friendly terms with Edouard Vuillard, Pierre Bonnard and other Nabi painters. In 1894 he visited Camille Pissarro, and thereafter was a frequent guest in his home, profiting from the study of the elderly master's late Impressionist technique. Lebasque was also interested in the divisionist theories of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac and by the late 1890s, the period of the present painting, the artist had synthesized these developments into his own Impressionist manner.
The scene is a favorite subject of the Impressionists, a forest glade abutting the bank of a river. The time is probably late spring, for the level of the river is still high from the winter run off, submerging smaller trees along the bank. The two figures are the artist's wife Catherine (née Fischer), called Ella, and their daughter Marthe, then four years old.
The brushwork is akin to that of Pissarro, although one may equally detect the influence of Signac's use of a tessera-like application of small rectangular blocks of color, although Lebasque has elected not to use this technique in a systemic way. The emphatic contrast of deep magenta and mauve tones with brilliant greens is less typical of Pissarro but may be observed in the paintings of Henri-Edmond Cross, another artist in Signac's Neo-Impressionist group.
In 1896 Lebasque was elected as an associate of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, and exhibited regularly in their annual salons. In 1899, the year of the present work, Lebasque achieved his first important public success with the painting Baigneuses, which was shown in the Salon des Beaux-Arts. Several years later Lebasque became a founding member of the Salon d'Automne, which yearly showcased the work of progressive independent artists, including Henri Matisse, André Derain and Henri Manguin.