In the summer of 1896, Cézanne stayed for several months at Talloires. The spectacular scenery around the Lac d'Annecy won his admiration, despite his homesick grumblings - writing to Philippe Solari in July, he said, 'I paint to divert myself... the lake is very nice with the big hills all round, two thousand metres or so they say, it is not worth our country although without exaggeration it is fine. - But when one was born down there, it is of no use, nothing else seems to mean anything' (cited in J. Rewald (ed.), Paul Cézanne Letters, London, 1941, pp. 200-01). Despite this admission, Cézanne executed a series of watercolours around the lake, many of which were taken by his son and sold by agreement to Ambroise Vollard, Cézanne's main dealer, friend, biographer and one of the few sitters in a named portrait by the artist.
Cézanne was working with renewed kudos, having had his first ever one-man show the previous year with Vollard. This is evident in the confident treatment of the lake and shore, which have been rendered in as few strokes as possible. Most of the picture remains almost untouched by the artist, although he has still managed to capture a sense of the lake and its stillness without resorting to the too obvious use of blues for the water. Indeed, the only significant use of watercolour in painting the water is in the shimmering reflections of the shore. Cézanne thus adds to the visual effect of Coin du Lac d'Annecy by only using his watercolours to capture the solid bank and land, contrasting the colours with the uncoloured spaces that capture both the receding mountains in the summer haze and the essence of the translucent water in the lake.