From 1887 onward, Rudolf von Alt would regularly travel in midsummer with his daughter, Louise, to Gastein from Salzburg. The melancholy expressed by the letters he wrote there contradicts the artistic fervor from which his most mature works resulted. The Old Spruce in Bad Gastein is a masterpiece of his late watercolor period. In proud splendor, a tree rises from all sides into the sky, which is imbued by loose brushwork with a light blue. Sweeping mountain ranges built from the finest points and short strokes of the brush stretch across the background. To convey the majestic size of the spruce, the painter incorporated the figure of a woman busy harvesting cabbage. Her stooped posture exemplifies an opposition between the imposing forces of nature and quiet, stable work.