The 1900 Paris Exposition gave Asai Chu the opportunity to study in France for two years. A professor at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts, he was 44 years old when he first experienced Europe, rather late in his career. From his base in Paris, he made occasional trips to the village of Grez-sur-Loing in its outskirts. The oil paintings he produced at Grez were brimming with fresh color and light; his work reached its peak there. In addition to oils, Asai created many watercolors of the village. Near what was known as the “old bridge,” the stone bridge over the Loing River, were ruins and and laundry huts that provided Asai with many subjects for his paintings. This watercolor depicts the village of Grez from the bridge in late winter. The ruins are visible beyond the stand of leafless trees.