Having decided to become a Western-style artist, KURODA Seiki began to study academic painting under Raphäel Collin. Later he moved to the country town of Grez-sur-Loing, south of Paris, where he spent his final two years in France producing many fine conversation pieces, portraits and landscapes. At that time a colony of foreign artists from Britain, the United States, Northern Europe, etc. lived in Grez and painted the beautiful surrounding scenery. Seiki was particularly attracted to the way in which the scenery altered according to the four seasons. The model he used in many of his paintings while he was studying in Grez, works such as ‘Dokusho’ (Woman Reading) or ‘Chubo’ (Portrait of Woman [Kitchen]), is Maria Billault, the daughter of the family from whom he rented a small hut that served as his home and studio.
This work is a view of Grez in the autumn. The yellow leaves of the row of poplars lining the road are portrayed in a beautiful bright color. In this use of the bright colors of the natural-light painters, we are able to discern KURODA’s attraction to Millet and the seventeenth-century Dutch painters as well as his sensitivity towards nature.