This work is one of Édouard Manet's most vivid experiments in painting outdoors, inspired by the younger Impressionists’ approach. It was created during a summer stay with Claude Monet in the town of Argenteuil, outside Paris. Monet's wife, Camille, and son, Jean, posed for the figures. Lining the other side of the river are barges for washing laundry.
The bright colours and swift brushstrokes creating the ripples on the water show Monet's influence. However, Manet maintained his distinctive use of thick oil paint and rich blacks to give weight to the painting.