Girardet was an exceptional academic Orientalist and landscape painter of the late 19th century. He was a student of Leon Gérome whom he clearly emulates both in subjects and technique. His work was almost always figural and often he challenged himself with extraordinarily difficult compositions.
This landscape is almost a refreshing break from his Orientalist desert views. He clearly traveled to an area around Barizon, France and was inspired to approach what was then, a very common scene. The Barbizon painters often painted washerwomen by river's edge, often depicting them at daybreak. This is a bit unique in that there is no sky, only striking, dappled sunlight playing on the foliage. It is this light and the contrast of the white of the geese that catch the viewer's eye. As always, his composition is carefully laid out with the figure in the foreground balancing the stream to the right. Yet the appeal of the painting is in its casual subject matter.
Private Collection, France