At an imaginary meeting in his apartment in Saint-Cloud, Emile Verhaeren reads from his own oeuvre. The audience consists of French and Belgian friends of Verhaeren and Théo Van Rysselberghe. From left to right, we see Félix Le Dantec, Francis Vielé-Griffin, Félix Fénéon, Henri Ghéon, André Gide, Maurice Maeterlinck, and, viewed from behind, Henri-Edmond Cross, the only painter in the company. The decor completes the literary and artistic character of the group portrait: a well furnished bookshelf, a statue by Auguste Rodin, a reproduction of the Portrait of Thomas Carlyle by James Abbott McNeill Whistler and a Kneeling Youth by George Minne. The Lecture, Van Rysselberghes skills in portraiture and composition reached their pinnacle. His style, with its emphatic painted accents and intense colours, represented a personal variation of neo-impressionism. The canvas also bears witness to the historic cultural ties between France and Belgium around the turn of the century.