This painting dates from the two months Paul Gauguin spent living and working with Vincent van Gogh at the Yellow House in Arles, France. Its setting is the public park opposite the house. Gauguin used a sketchbook to plan the principal figures, the details of their headdresses, and their grouping, as well as the fountain, bench, and conical shrubs wrapped against the frost, all of which he could have observed from his bedroom window. The figure on the left resembles Madame Ginoux, the proprietress of a local café. She clutches her shawl to her mouth against the cold wind, known in the region as the mistral. Together with her blank eyes, this gesture suggests stifled grief, reinforcing the sense that she is leading a solemn cortege.