Executed in 1911, Le Pont de Sèvres et les hauteurs de Meudon is a dynamic and exciting composition by an artist at the forefront of the European avant-garde. One of the purest cubist works in her oeuvre, the pictorial space of the present work is rigorously, geometrically constructed, emphasizing the dynamism of the city. Under the clear influence of Cézanne, each urban component - the bridge and the houses - is stylized and reduced to geometric forms, although Exter never reaches full abstraction, retaining some figurative elements such as the lamp-post at the left of the bridge. Although undeniably influenced by cubism, the movement and dynamism of Le Pont de Sèvres et les hauteurs de Meudon display Exter's tendencies towards futurism; while the composition is anchored by the triangular structural forms, the painting is brought alive by the circular elements of the composition.
The palette of the painting, with its emphasis on ochres and subtle tonal varieties of blue-grey also recalls the influence of Cézanne and mirrors the post-fauve direction of artists like Maurice de Vlaminck. Nevertheless, Exter introduces a hint of red in the centre of her composition, suggestive of her love of colour which dramatically increases over the course of the following years with her development towards abstraction.
An important figure in Russian avant-garde circles, Exter was also widely travelled and is one the leading figures in the development of artistic relations between France and Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. She travelled to Paris for the first time in 1907, where she quickly fell in with the intellectuals and artists of Montparnasse. She returned to Paris in 1911, the year the present work was painted and the year which saw the break up of Le Valet de Carreau, an avant-garde group which included artists such as Larionov, Malevich, Kandinsky and Popova. Exter was also enormously influential in bringing modern art to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, helping to organize three major Russian avant-garde exhibitions: The Link in 1908, Vladimir Izdebsky's international Salon in 1910 (which included works by artists such as Matisse, Rouault, van Dongen, Metzinger and Redon), and The Ring in 1914.
Le Pont de Sèvres et les hauteurs de Meudon is one of five versions of this subject (Chauvelin 10-12, 14, 15), the largest of which (Chauvelin 11) is in the National Art Museum of Ukraine, Kiev.