This photograph is one of Gustave Le Gary's earliest works. Many of Le Gray's earliest works were made in and around Fontainbleau and its forest and show his affinities with Barbizon school painting.
The present photograph is exceptional in showing an artist painting under the shade of landmark tree: "A tree near Barbizon was famous under the name of the Rageur. It was an oak, of fabulous old age, with a trunk hollowed out and half-naked, which twitched and twisted, as if in a fit of rage, its dried branches, which were filled, from time to time, with a few tufts of leaves." Camille Pelletan, Une education Républicaine, Paris, no date.