There were several Sorolla paintings which captures the lives of the poor whilst travelling by train, and at the time of European society there would have been some interesting scenarios on this form of transport. Public transport would be the main form of travel for some time yet, and so one would witness people from all manner of backgrounds making their way around the country by train. In other examples the artist captured the lives of several prostitutes, in a piece named White Slave Trade. In this example though, the female is actually a prisoner who was awaiting trial, and the figures alongside her were civil guards ensuring her delivery. Her posture is therefore in keeping with her expectation that she would be about to receive punishment for whatever crime she was accused of but also perhaps underlines her overall life outlook, with little opportunity of success or hope for a better future.
Social Realism was a style which appealed to Sorolla and would inspire a series of paintings from his career in the late 19th century. In terms of theme and tone, one can draw some comparisons with the work of Gustave Caillebotte who would also draw together the movements of realism and impressionism. The Floor Scrapers, for example, illustrates how colours can create an atmosphere to suit the content as he concentrates on some hard working men in central Paris. Paris Street, Rainy Day was another good contribution from the artist which provides a dramatic use of angles and perspective, combined with the city's memorable architecture. Sorolla himself was not part of the French Impressionist or Realism movements, but took in many of their ideas and inserted his own inspirations from life in Valencia and the wider Spanish nation.
This painting can be found in the permanent collection of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at the Washington University in St. Louis, USA. They have it listed as having been a gift from Charles Nagel, Sr. back in 1894 who presumably would have purchased it directly from the artist and then chosen to pass it onto this venue which now possesses an impressive collection of art and antiquities from a wide variety of civilisations. Peinture (Painting) by Joan Miro from 1933 could possibly be their most value painting on display, though other items to look out for include the likes of Les belles cyclistes (The Women Cyclists) by Fernand Leger, Portrait of Professor W. D. Marks by Thomas Eakins and also The Abduction of Daniel Boone's Daughter by the Indians by Charles Ferdinand Wimar.