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.
Omnipresent throughout the various stages in Vlaminck's artistic career, acting as a sort of pictorial idée fixe, is his home town of Chatou and, in particular, its modest bridge. 'In art and in life this bridge had very particular associations for Vlaminck. It was not just a point from which he could reconnoiter his painting territory. The bridge was as vital to him as it was to Chatou itself. He later recalled his tutelage by the naïve painter "Monsieur Henri Rigal of Chatou," whom Vlaminck visited every day at "his favourite haunt under the bridge"... A contemporary critic, evidently recognising the bridge's importance to Vlaminck, went so far as to call it "his atelier"' (J. Klein, exh. cat., The Fauve Landscape, Los Angeles, 1990, p. 134).
Around 1907, following on from the colouristic exuberances of the previous two years, Vlaminck found himself becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the seeming formlessness of 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. 'The play of pure colours, the extreme orchestration into which I threw myself unrestrainedly no longer satisfied me,' he wrote. Le pont à Chatou, with its counter-posed planes, framed recession and logical progression of colour across the entire surface of the canvas, owes an obvious debt to the 'ordered sensations' of Cézanne. Furthermore its structure and sustained tension recalls Cézannian notions of building solidity and form through planar construction, while Vlaminck's more naturalistic use of blues, greens and ochres, that was to characterise his work for the following years, also recalls Cézanne's palette.