The Forest of Fontainebleau occupies a central place in the history of 19th century art. Bruandet, a pioneer of painting from nature, moved there at the end of the 18th century. A few years later he was followed by Bidauld, Aligny, Desgoffe, Brascassat and notably Corot who would go there when returning from Rome or en route to Italy.
Around 1860, Charles Gleyre sent his pupils there to do their first technical exercises: Renoir, Sisley, Bazille accompanied by Monet who worked there on what would become the manifesto of modern life: Le déjeuner sur l’Herbe. Foreign artists used to make an obligatory stop there on their tour of France or Europe; in short, the Forest of Fontainebleau, which had been discovered by the Romantic writers in the 1820s, became a fashionable location and, for painters, it offered a magnificent, life size studio, which would be visited again by Redon, Seurat, Derain and Picasso in 1921.