Henri Le Sidaner purchased property in the historic fortress town of Gerberoy in 1904, and in 1910 he undertook a large-scale renovation of the buildings and grounds on his land with the intention of using it as a summer residence. Auguste Rodin had suggested the town to Le Sidaner as the perfect location for his ambitious plan to design a home that would also serve as a setting for his painting. Situated sixty-five miles northwest of Paris on the border between Picardy and Normandy, the village was notable for its quaint blend of brick frame and timber homes and its cobble streets. The pace of life there appealed to Le Sidaner who had grown dissatisfied with his hectic life in Paris.
Le Sidaner's plan called for a main house, pavilion, studio barn, tower and extensive gardens. La petite table portrays the terrace of the main house with an elaborately set table in the foreground. The artist made careful studies of his subjects from nature, then return to his studio to craft his compositions. While the arrangement in the present painting conveys an impression of spontaneity, the objects are, in fact, carefully chosen with an eye for their reflective possibilities. His compositions are characterized by the subtle interplay of light and shadow and overall sense of serenity which he achieved by juxtaposing cool and warm tones. The critic Jacques Bashet commented that Le Sidaner "is a pointillist, but not the kind who decomposes tones and applies them unmixed, thereby letting our eyes reconstitute the colors on our retina. His palette is extremely varied and subtle. The oils bind and melt together in the highly delicate harmonies...contours seem to emerge from the interplay of light, and in this respect, he is similar to Claude Monet" (quoted in Y. Farinaux-Le Sidaner, op. cit., p. 37).