In mid-June 1920, Picasso and his wife Olga left Paris for the Riviera. They stopped first at Saint-Raphaël, where they had vacationed the previous summer, and after a brief return to Paris (Olga was pregnant), they returned to Saint-Raphaël and then moved on to nearby Juan-les-Pins. There they rented a house known as the Villa Les Sables, where they remained until late September, when they arrived back in Paris. In February 1921 Picasso's first son Paolo was born, and the family would not return to Juan-les-Pins until the summer of 1924 when they stayed at La Vigie.
Picasso's dedication to both Cubism and Classicism in the early 1920s stressed draughtsmanship and liberated him from a coloristic representation of depth. In 1924, this division is manifest in a serial depiction of the landscape and starry night skies in patterned, abstract drawings of dots joined by straight or curved lines, and extends to the separation of figure and ground in his landscape and still-life painting. In the "Castle landscapes," including the present work, the literal articulation of forms in black outlines is supplemented by suspended color fields that are playfully connotative.
As Josep Palau i Fabre has observed:
The kind of crudeness characteristic of Picasso's output at Juans-les-Pins during the summer of 1924 extends to the landscapes, which in fact are all variations of the same theme, although the wisdom and skill of the artist is visible throughout. The deliberately clumsy use of Indian ink and the smudges [in the starry night drawings] link with the stains that predominate over the landscapes. These stains are both horizontal and vertical, the latter perhaps more visible because they comprise the object and its reflection in the water, although actually there is no such object, no reflection, and no water. The brush stroke itself, by a process of elongation and with no need for description, creates the idea of reflection rather than reproducing the reflected object upside-down. This use of pictorial matter and of its expressive capacity goes beyond the object represented. The stains are an entity in their own right, a plastic value added to that of the composition as a whole (in Picasso: From the Ballets to Drama: 1917-1926, Barcelona, 1999, p. 424).