Though Cézanne painted still life compositions from the start of his career, it was only in later years that this genre began to occupy an essential place in his work. Apples and Oranges belongs to this period.
It forms part of a series of six still lifes produced in 1899 in Cézanne's Parisian studio. Each painting features the same accessories: earthenware dishes and a jug decorated with a floral motif. Their arrangement is also similar, with a draped cloth, reminiscent of 17th century Flemish still lifes, closing the perspective. However, the dynamic effect created by a complex spatial construction and Cézanne's subjective perception of the arranged objects illustrate his essentially pictorial approach.
Through the rigour and plasticity of his artistic language, Cézanne brings new life to a genre traditional in French painting since Chardin. Apples and Oranges, which combines modernity and sumptuous beauty, is the most important still life produced by artist in the late 1890's.