In the fall and winter of 1906–07, Braque sought the strong light of southern France with the goal of making more vividly colorful images of nature. He painted The Large Trees, L'Estaque near the Bay of Marseilles—also one of Paul Cézanne's favorite sites. Cézanne's influence can be seen in Braque's motif of climbing hillside and high horizon and, especially, in the attention to the structuring elements of rocks and houses in the foreground. Braque came late to Fauvism and left early. Although The Large Trees was created within the period of the artist’s fullest engagement with Fauvism, its somber mood and softly controlled hues and contours set it apart from the looser brushwork and strident color in paintings by Matisse and Derain of this period.
Gallery label from Cézanne to Picasso: Paintings from the David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection, July 17–August 31, 2009.