Moonlight, sunsets, and twilight held a special attraction for Ralph Albert Blakelock for their poetic qualities. Here he expressed his personal response to nature in this mysterious and haunting moonlit forest. Plagued by poverty, Blakelock was devastated when he only received half of his asking price for this painting in 1891. By the time the owner put it up for sale 15 years later, Blakelock had been largely confined to mental asylums for more than a decade. Ironically, when Edward Drummond Libbey bought Brook by Moonlight in 1916 for the Toledo Museum of Art, he paid the highest price ever up to that time for a painting by a living American artist.