Georges Tardif enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1885, training in the studio of the architect Eugène Train, and very quickly became interested in watercolour. His friendship with Maximilien Luce and Léo Gausson made him aware of the pictorial research that was taking place at the time.
With its Impressionist style, this decorative design draws both on Antiquity, with the frieze of characters forming the entablature, and on the pictorial tradition of the 19th century, depicting workers in the fields.
Water is presented not only as an element of the landscape, following the natural lines of the valley, but also as a line of communication between bridges on either side of the river.
The positioning of the decor on the staircase focuses attention on the link between man and nature, with the water at its centre.
The predominance of blue, re-enforced by the ceramic tiles, accentuates the “Mediterranean” effect of the composition. This design was exhibited at the Salon in 1895.