"Monsieur Roelofs est hollandais; il habite Bruxelles depuis longtemps, et ses sympathies sont pour l'ecole française". These were the words the Belgian Art critic Emile Leclercq used to describe Willem Roelofs after the Salon in Brussels of 1863. Roelofs had moved to Brussels in 1847 and after only two months expressed disappointment to his good friend and fellow artist Jan Weissenbruch. The artistic abilities of his colleagues in Brussels were not what he had expected. Two years later he had found the opposite to be true and was drawn to the French influences permeating the city.
At the Salon he became acquainted with the work of painters of the School of Barbizon such as Gustave Courbet, Jean Baptiste Corot and Charles Daubigny. He was influenced by their work and wrote to Weissenbruch that he would like to travel to Paris. The present lot is, in the artist's own words, a "Souvenir de Fontainebleau".
This impressive panel was part of the collection of the famous Brussels-based collector Baron Jules de Hauff. The collection, which included works by 19th century masters such as Narcisse Diaz de la Pena, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek, Jean Baptiste Madou, Constant Troyon, Alfred Stevens and Eugène Barend Cornelis Verboeckhoven, was auctioned in Brussels in 1876.