In 1891 Cross moved to the isolated hamlet of Saint-Clair on the Côte d'Azur. The topography of the coast and the Mediterranean light inspired him to adopt a brighter palette and he employed a more saturated brushstroke. That same year he exhibited his first truly pointilliste picture at the Salon des Indépendants. Working in concert with his friends Seurat and Signac, with whom he had founded the Neo-Impressionist group, he adapted their rigid pointillist style to suit his more planar, rhythmic method by opening out the prescribed dot of pure color to a larger, rectangular tache, more reminiscent of a tessera in a mosaic. Cross constructed his compositions through the use of interlocking planes and careful juxtaposition of regular strokes of complementary colors. His innovative style laid the ground for the work of both the Fauve and Cubist painters years later. According to Isabelle Compin, "He resolutely adopted the rules of divisionism, of which he was to be from that time on one of the most brilliant exponents" (op. cit., p. 65). Cross worked out of doors, producing watercolors and drawings that he used as studies to guide to his finished paintings in his studio. Le nuage rouge is painted in rich harmonies of color using vibrant and strong tones placed on the canvas in bold patterns of brushwork. As Maurice Denis said, "Cross had resolved to represent the sun, not by bleaching his colors, but by exalting them, and by the boldness of his color contrasts" (quoted in J. House, Post Impressionism, London, 1979, exh. cat., p. 61). In summing up Cross's contribution to the art of his generation, Robert Herbert wrote, "By the time of his death, his work stood as a hymn of praise to color and sunlight, and helped form the vision of the Mediterranean coast which is commonplace today" (Neo-Impressionism, New York, exh. cat., p. 40).