Kuroda Seiki has been called the "Grand Old Man" of Western paitning in Japan. He was both a talented artist and blessed with social status and wealth - his family were influential members of the Satsuma clan. He went to Paris in 1884 to study law, but was captivated by the Paris art world and abandoned law for painting. Kuroda trained under academician Raphael Collin (1850-1916), then moved to Grez-sur-Loing in the suburbs in order to paint directly from nature. He spent two years there in the company of fellow artist Kume Keiichiro (1866-1934) doing some of his best work. When he returned to Tokyo in 1893 after nine years in France he became the center of the Japanese art world. As founder of the White Horse Society (Hakubakai), an association of Western-style painters, and as an instructor at the newly formed Western Painting Section of the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, Kuroda introduced a younger generation of artists to his impressionist-influenced plein-air style.
The inscription in unclear. It may identify the scene as the Paris suburb Grez-sur-Loing, where Kuroda had lived and worked or it may refer to Marquis Saionji who commissioned a painting when the artist returned from his duty as a war correspondent during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95.