Because this gouache is not finished we can see the artist at work. In this period, Leo Gestel was hugely interested in cubism and futurism. We see features of both movements in this work. He has started to cover the entire surface area with facets, giving rise to a dynamic mosaic of finished shapes. For Gestel, the movements of the time enable him to give the painting a modern design, without affecting the recognizability of the presentation. His work always retained a certain classical structure, with a foreground and background.
Leendert Gestel (Leo is short for the nickname Leonardo given to him by his Amsterdam friends.) largely determined the face of Dutch modern art. Together with Jan Sluijters and Piet Mondriaan, he was the frontrunner of Dutch Modernism. By this term we mean the Dutch version of the then international avant-garde movements pointillism, fauvism, cubism and futurism. Gestel sought inspiration in each of these directions. In 1903, despite his father's opposition, he was able to call himself a free artist. By now he was living in Amsterdam, obtained his teaching certificate in drawing and had begun the evening course at the Rijksacademie at A. Allebé. His studio at 2nd Jan Steenstraat in Amsterdam became a meeting place for artists. His trips together with Jan Sluiters to cities like Paris, Antwerp and Brussels became of lasting influence on his work. In 1912, he settled in Bergen with his wife Ann. His work was bought early on by collectors J.F.S. Esser, Piet Boendermakers and Hélène Kröller - Muller. His great talent for drawing, in addition to his development as a painter, has always remained important, especially after the modernist period. However, the smoothly drawn pastels were also popular at the beginning of his career.