Cassis gave O'Conor new inspiration and triggered a return to landscape painting at the expense of studio subjects. The paintings he produced were characterised by bright pure colours and a bold confident technique. He tended to steer clear of the obvious picturesque subjects such as the harbour and town, favouring instead the imposing summit of Le Cap Canail fronted by isolated farmsteads, sun-drenched orchards and vineyards.
The present work represents a mountain stream that changes level as it reaches a small waterfall, the closest stretch of water just catching the light of the setting sun. Although the steep slopes of the valley are silhouetted, they still glow red, pink and purple, as do the wall and path above the left bank of the stream. The picture has been painted methodically using short parallel brushstrokes and small dabs of colour - a Cézannesque approach that marks a change from the dabbed and stained surfaces typical of his Cassis landscapes. The rapidly fading light may have obliged the artist to complete the work under cover, away from the subject, and it is possible that it dates from the first shorter trip to Cassis. The measured tonal progression from dark foreground to radiant background aligns with the system he had devised in Paris for indoor subjects that were backlit.
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