In August 1872, Cézanne visited Pissarro in Pontoise, where his friend had recently settled with his family. He then proceeded on to nearby Auvers-sur-Oise. Dr Paul Gachet, who had known Cézanne's father during their student days, had acquired property there and was planning to set up a studio. Cézanne remained in Auvers until early 1874, living with his mistress Hortense Fiquet and their infant son Paul. Cézanne worked in Pontoise during December 1872, and almost every day during the following year he walked from Auvers to Pontoise, a distance of more than 6 kilometres, to paint at Pissarro's side. The two artists explored the nearby countryside, and set up their easels in front of their landscape subjects.
Rewald (op.cit.) pointed out that the present work "is the first known watercolour executed 'sur le motif,' as Cézanne used to say.... The landscape is conceived in large masses of subtly nuanced dark greens contrasting with the roads of light tobacco colour, the white houses, and the clear grey sky.... The buildings are established with great simplicity and solidity in the midst of the lush vegetation. The deftness with which a single black window pierces the wall of the white house at right and gives it volume relates to similar accents in some of Cézanne's Auvers paintings, such as Venturi nos. 134, 144, 146 and 147 (Rewald paintings, nos. 191, 193, 194 and 190)."
Pissarro was the first owner of this watercolour -- Cézanne likely gave it to him in appreciation of the older artist's guidance during this crucial phase in his development, in which Cézanne began to acquire a more disciplined and mature technique. This watercolour reminded Rewald of Pissarro's important large painting Les coteaux de L'Hermitage, Pontoise, circa 1867 (L. R. Pissarro and L. Venturi, no. 58).