Beginning in the 1880s Ryder often turned to literary themes as subjects for his paintings. Here Ryder uses a scene from Shakespeare's comedy, "As You Like It," as a point of departure for the depiction of landscape. The figures are relegated to an unassuming position in the lower left corner of the canvas. They have usually been identified as Rosalind (disguised in male costume) and Celia, who have escaped from the court of Duke Frederick into the Forest of Arden. However, they may well represent one of several other pairs of lovers from the play. Ryder studied the local landscape of Bronx Park for this painting, simplifying and interpreting forms to create a personal vision of nature.
Signature: [at lower right]: APR [monogram] yder
Newman Emerson Montross, New York, 1908; Dr. A. T. Sanden, New Rochelle, New York, 1908–1924; with Ferargil Galleries, New York, 1924–1925; Miss Adah M. Dodsworth, Englewood, New Jersey, 1930–1932; her estate and Misses Mary E. and Alice A. Dodsworth, until 1935; with Milch Galleries, New York, until 1936; with Macbeth Gallery, New York, 1936; Stephen C. Clark, New York, 1936–died 1960