This view of Pontoise, just northwest of Paris, helped establish Pissarro’s reputation as an innovative painter of the rural French landscape. The critic Émile Zola praised the picture enthusiastically when it was shown along with another rustic scene at the Salon of 1868, writing, "This is the modern countryside. One feels that man has passed by, turning and cutting the earth. . . . And this little valley, this hill have a heroic simplicity and forthrightness. Nothing would be more banal were it not so grand. From ordinary reality the painter's temperament has drawn a rare poem of life and strength."