This painting of a sluice is one of the first oil paintings executed by Kandinsky. As in all of his first paintings it is from life, presumably in the countryside around his home in Munich or possibly at Kochel where he spent the summer of 1902. It was at Kochel that he began a relationship with Gabriele Munter, one of his students who accompanied him on the trip. Although he was to travel around Europe with her later, assimilating stylistic ideas for painting, in 1902 he was still only influenced by the artists he had seen in and around Munich.
The heavy layers of paint used in this work suggest that he wws still influenced by members of the Munich Secession including his former teacher Franz von Stuck. Others who would have directly influenced Kandinsky would have been Max Liebermonn and Fritz von Uhde, whose dark interiors of the 1890s are so redolent of the English Newlyn School painters of the same period. It is likely that Kandinsky would also have been familiar with the use of heavy thick impasto by Van Gogh.