Cézanne painted this canvas in the early 1880s, a period when he used to stay in Auvers and Pontoise with Camille Pissarro. Pissarro was also painting similar images of farmyards around 1875. But whereas he was interested in the life of these places, animating them with figures, Cézanne's Farmyard has a gravity about it, exuding an atmosphere of abandon in contrast with the way the subject was normally represented.
The landscape is cluttered with obstacles. The section of wall on the right serves as a repoussoir, drawing the eye into the composition, gradually moving from the foreground to the farm building where the doors and shutters are closed. In front of it is a tree with its bare branches carefully outlined. On the left, a small thatched outhouse cuts off the view and prevents us from seeing any further. A small wooded hill, rendered by hatching, seems to vibrate behind the imposing mass of the farm.
The light tones and fractured brushwork are still typically Impressionist, and remind us that several years previously, Cézanne had been very close to this group. But here he is only concerned with the relationship between architecture and nature, concentrating his research on forms. From this point on, Cézanne maintained the break between his personal approach and that of the Impressionists.