Paul Signac participated in the final Impressionist exhibition, but his work revealed a new interest in strong geometric structures, rigidly differentiated forms, and bold color. Signac was a leader of Neo-Impressionism, a movement that built on Impressionist color theory but took a more scientific approach. In this work, Signac employs small dots or short brushstrokes of bright, often contrasting colors, which were thought to vibrate or blend in the viewer’s eye to create a more subtle perception. The trees, composed largely of dark violets and blues, are backlit by the bright yellows, oranges, and clear blues of the distant field and sky. The profusion of colors on the ground under the trees creates a dappled effect.
Signac was attracted to the theory that lines and shapes create distinct meanings and moods. The sinuous lines of the trees in the middle ground draw the viewer’s eye up and may help create a buoyant mood, while the solitary and introspective atmosphere created by the lone figure provides a counterbalance.