Frederick Frieseke depicted women relaxing outdoors throughout his career. He believed that by painting the same subject again and again he could better concentrate on capturing the true effects of color and light. Influenced by the French Impressionists, who favored a bright palette, Frieseke painted the shadows on the terrace and the tall tree in the background using blues and lavenders, rather than shades of gray or black. Frieseke's use of intense, almost arbitrary colors shows his affinity with the Post-Impressionists Paul Gauguin and Pierre Bonnard.
Frieseke painted this scene in Giverny, France, where he spent summers from 1906 to 1919. Giverny was home to a lively artists' colony that included the Americans Theodore Robinson and Guy Rose as well as the Frenchman Claude Monet. This painting depicts Frieseke's wife, Sadie, reading in the garden. The green wicker chair, kimono, and parasol appear in several paintings by Frieseke and other Americans who visited Giverny.