This watercolor on Japan paper, mounted on board, is vertically oriented. The piece is very dark, with the forms barely visible and very abstract. The upper quarter of the piece is blue, white, and pink (presumably a morning sky). In the next quarter down is what appears to be a body of water reflecting the sky, which a city and hills on the fall side of the shore from the viewer. The lower half the work has abstract figures in brown and cream that appear to be on the shore. Compositionally, there is a zig-zag recession into space. The piece is surrounded by the white border of the board that it is mounted on.
This work was painted at the end of Whistler’s life (he died in 1903). The artist was in poor health when he spent the winter of 1900-01 in Algiers and Ajaccio, Corsica. He painted, etched, and filled many notebooks with drawings, including over 1700 watercolors in his lifetime. He painted thinly, leaving areas blank to suggest light or texture. He outlined a subject in pencil or brush, and then added washes quickly with small brushes, altering, but rarely rubbing out.
Signed: Buson (center), Yahan (left); Inscriptions: At the right side of the broom: Ippatsu ichiboku One stroke, one line Soha zokujin Sweeps away worldly dust. Between the broom and poet: Yukuharu no Departing Spring's Shiripeta harau Buttocks are brushed Rakka kana Of fallen flowers. At the left side of the poet: Hatsu shigure First shower of Autumn Mayu ni eboshi no On my eyebrow Shizuku kana My hat's raindrop. The concluding poem: Sato sugite Passing the village Furue ni yanagi o Along a old stream, a willow Mitsuke tari Is found.