Courbet had welcomed France’s Third Republic but when it appeared to him to be capitulating to Germany, he aligned with the revolutionary opposition government of the Commune. Though the artist resigned before the toppling of the Vendôme Column he was made the scapegoat for the act and sentenced to jail. Following an initial release from prison, a new trial in 1873 led to the seizure of Courbet’s property and threats that either he pay the whole cost of restoring the Column, or face another prison term. Courbet chose instead exile in Switzerland.
After settling near Lausanne the artist began to again paint actively; Courbet seemed captivated by the ever-changing view across Lac Leman up the steep mountains and completed a series of these views in his studio in La-Tour-de-Peilz. Surrounded by a large community of French political refugees in Switzerland at the time, the landscape surely reminded Courbet of his hometown ofOrnans in the Jura mountains.