In July and August of 1906, Dufy traveled along the Normandy coast in the company of Albert Marquet. The two painted side by side in the popular resort towns of Trouville, Honfleur, Le Havre and its smaller neighbour, Sainte-Adresse, the location of the present work. Dufy had grown up in Le Havre, spending much of his childhood and adolescence there, and both the port of Le Havre and the bay of Sainte-Adresse were to provide him with fixed pictorial reference points during his career. It was a year later, in 1907, that Dufy first introduced the motif of the fisherman on the jetty, employing the angles and curves of the rods to great effect in breaking up his composition and introducing into his horizontal landscapes a subtle note of dynamism.
Dufy returned to the Normandy coast frequently throughout his life, particularly often in the 1920s when the present work was executed. His childhood on the coast had instilled in him a great love of the sea and, taking his viewpoint for the present work from the jetty of Sainte-Adresse looking back at the beach, Dufy allows himself the luxury of depicting a large expanse of blue in the water and sky, broken only by the town, with its colorful buildings and distinctive spires, and the birds and butterflies in the foreground. Dufy was also attracted by the sea in an artistic sense; the luminosity and transient nature of the effects of light upon its surface allowed him to explore and further develop his pictorial theories of color and light.