A late-impressionist painting by a German-American artist of a section of the tracks along Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin. The right track glistens, and is the brightest element in the autumnal painting whose palette is muted. The tracks cross from the lower left to the middle right, passing a stone wall. Dots of white indicate sailboats on the lake. Both the Milwaukee Road and North Western had tracks along the lake.
Rheder came to the United States from Germany in 1939 in his late seventies because he did not like Hitler, and he had a son who taught German at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He had been a successful fine artist of landscapes and portraits in Europe, and he immediately began to record Madison scenes, such as this one, after his arrival. The tracks were installed on fill in the late 19th century, and retaining walls held back a slope. No highway had yet been constructed between the tracks and the lake when Rehder painted it, but fill for a prospective roadway is visible at the midpoint of the landscape.