Nicholas Brewer is remembered primarily as a portraitist. However, when on his own time, he often turned his attention to landscape or small genre scenes in which his family frequently played a starring role. Although the location of At the Spring is not documented, the artist's technique and palette, as well as the rustic setting, suggests a date around 1895 when Brewer and his family were living on a farm in Stacy, Minnesota. The tender directness of the work strongly suggests that the models are, most likely, the artist's wife and one of the couple's six sons.Born in High Forest, Olmstead County, Minnesota, Brewer first studied art in St. Paul with Henry J. Koempel, followed by several years in New York where he trained with Charles Noel Flagg and Dwight W. Tryon. Between 1910 and 1940, Brewer received portrait commissions from Presidents Grover Cleveland and Franklin Roosevelt, the musician Ignace Paderewski, and several governors and legislators.