Maïthé Vallès-Bled and Godelieve de Vlaminck will include this painting in their forthcoming Vlaminck catalogue raisonné being prepared under the sponsorship of the Wildenstein Institute.
In 1892 at the age of sixteen Vlaminck moved to the town of Chatou, situated on the Seine just to the north west of Paris. The derailment of a train travelling from Paris to Chatou eight years later brought about the chance meeting of Vlaminck and André Derain, then also living in the town. From that moment onwards the two men took to painting side by side, making the first contact that would lead to the Fauve revolution.
By 1907, however, following on from the colouristic exuberances of the previous two years, Vlaminck found himself becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the Fauve experiment. His natural predilection for a sense of spatial structure and legibility led him to adopt a more structured approach to his compositions. 'Working directly in this way, tube against canvas, one quickly arrives at an excessive facility. One ends in transposing mathematically. The emerald green becomes black, the pink flaming red, etc. Winning numbers come up at every draw and immediate success becomes an impasse. Preoccupied with light I neglected the object...either you think nature or you think light' (M. de Vlaminck, Dangerous Corner, London, 1961, p. 15).
A way forward was offered by the work of Cézanne exhibited at the Salon d'Automne in 1907. It devoted two rooms to a retrospective of Cézanne's work and while Vlaminck, through his association with Vollard, can hardly have been ignorant of Cézanne up to that point, the impact of such a large-scale exhibition was to be profound. Vlaminck primarily absorbed Cézanne's lessons on building form through careful planar construction; the bold recession and sustained tension of La Seine à Chatou owes an obvious debt to the 'ordered sensations' of Cézanne and offered Vlaminck a convincing alternative to the perceived formlessness of Fauve landscapes. Furthermore, the dynamic brushwork and increasingly naturalistic use of blues, greens and ochres, that was to characterise his work for the following years, also recalls Cézanne's palette.