In 1919 when Derain was demobbed after serving in the First World War, he returned to his painting career. He rejected the brilliant colours he had used before the war and used instead quieter colour harmonies. He was an admirer of early French landscape painting, particularly the work of Courbet, Corot, and his contemporary Renoir. In 1921 Derain introduced a new softness of form into his work and this landscape is a good example of that. It was painted in the Forest of Fontainebleau, close to the village of Barbizon, a venue favoured by mid-nineteenth century French painters, such as J.F. Millet and T. Rousseau, who are now seen as forerunners of Impressionism.