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The Lake for Miniature Yachts

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The American Impressionists captured the energy and fragmentation of contemporary experience in Paris, Boston, New York, and other cities, often focusing on public parks, which allowed them to portray urban life without confronting urban hardship. Although he usually stressed pastoral charm in his park paintings, Chase allowed the pavement to dominate this view of the Conservatory Water, a small pond just inside the Fifth Avenue boundary of New York's Central Park, at Seventy-third Street. He shows Fifth Avenue's rooftops invading the insulating screen of trees that surrounds the park, thus signaling growing challenges to the park's rural fiction. A boy in a fashionable sailor suit striding along at left and an older boy and a well-dressed younger girl at the pond's edge appear as if glimpsed in an instant, quietly pursuing their own interests without any concern for the viewer or for enacting an apparent narrative.