Plunged in a dream, the figure is seated, his knees folded close and his arms circled round them, such that his body forms a square that echoes the format of the canvas. The dreaming figure is set off with a thin blue outline and seems almost weightless and devoid of flesh, the picture of an inner world. This impression is reinforced through the summary treatment of the face and the landscape in the background: the eyes, nose, nostrils and the natural elements are faintly drawn in paint that has been thinned downed considerably.
To emphasise this unreal moment, the springlike atmosphere blends with the autumnal leaves that hang on the tree like notes strung along a bar of music. If structured like a two-dimensional décor evoking emptiness and silence, the setting nonetheless describes a perceptible world.
For Schmidt, a painter and musician, the silences count as much as the notes; they often make it possible to point up a spiritual dimension of the landscape. Many of his compositions, such as Promenade dans le jardin (Walk in the Garden – 1923), feature a motionless figure meditating by the shelter of a tree in a silent world. Between the brown, red and gold highlights of the tree and the bluish notes of the stream, Schmidt’s Le Rêveur offers a true symbiosis of form and content. The picture expresses the harmony of poetry in colour, with an enigmatic figure transported into his dream.