In 1951, Masson began to paint classical landscapes in a style inspired by J.M.W. Turner and Claude Monet. It was an extraordinary step for an artist associated with the avant-garde and known for his violent vision of the relationship between man and nature. Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler believed that this shift in Masson’s work was a source of ‘consolation’ amid the uncertainties of the cold war. Painted with loose brushwork and hot colours, Riez presents a recognisable view of the small Provençal town of Riez with its ruined Roman temple.