In 1947 Graham Sutherland first visited the South of France and he continued to return each year. The Mediterranean light and motifs associated with the area began to appear in his work during the late 1940s. The hot reds, oranges and yellows in Figure and Maize evoke the constant heat of the Mediterranean sun, which blazes out across the landscape in the upper centre of the work. Sutherland painted figures tending to vines, as can be see in Figure and Vine, 1948 (lot 112) and to fields of maize, evident in the present work. The vegetation that he found in France also appear as repeated motifs in his work, such as the gourd on the right of the composition. This motif can also be found in Still Life with Gourds, 1948 (Richard S. Zeisler), an unusually conventional still life, of which there is a suggestion in the present work.