It is quite possible that some special personal reasons prompted Cezanne to paint the same pine tree shown in this painting several times. The area represented in these paintings is in the Arc River Valley near Aix. In 1885—1887, Cezanne painted Great Pine in Montbriant (former collection of Lecomte, Venturi, no. 459); the watercolor, Great Pine (Venturi, no. 1024), probably belongs to the same time period. There is no doubt that the painter showed the same tree in all of these works. Although Venturi dated the Hermitage canvas to the same time as Great Pine in Montbriant, those who assign it to a later period may be more accurate. For example, Cooper suggests the dates 1889—1891 on the basis of his analysis of the colors used in the work. John Rewald suggests the dates 1890—1895.
Nina Yavorskaya suggested a later date of 1895—1897, and Theodore Reff agreed with her. It is well known that around 1897 Cezanne often worked in Montbriant at his brother-in-law's estate. The Hermitage painting differs from The Great Pine in Montbriant in approach to its subject and better composition. The tree trunk is thicker in this painting, and the surrounding small trees at its base are taller.
Hermitage Museum, inv. no. 8963
Vollard Gallery, Paris; 1908, I. Morozov collection (acquired from Vollard for 15,000 francs);
1918, Second Museum of Modern Western Painting, Moscow;
1923, Museum of Modern Western Art, Moscow;
since 1948, Hermitage, Leningrad.