In the nineteenth century, Bougival emerged as a favourite spot for artists. It was located along the Seine just west of Paris, and like many other hamlets along the river, it was gradually being transformed into one of the city’s suburbs. Maris visited Bougival in 1871 while he was living in Paris. He had recently abandoned figure painting and instead showed an interest in landscape. This painting shows Maris’s absorption of a number of different influences, particularly the work of Daubigny in his broad strokes of the brush and arrangement of the scene. The lone figure in a rowing boat and the dilapidated old watermill look back to a past way of life. Maris deliberately rejected the encroachment of modern city life on the village. This small sketch was undoubtedly painted outside.