In her article Schuffenecker, évolution d’une Symbolique [Schuffenecker, the evolution of a symbolic system] in the Émile Schuffenecker catalogue for the exhibition at Pont-Aven, Saint-Germain en Laye 1996/97, the art historian Jill-Elyse Grossvoguel identifies three stages in the work of the artist Gauguin nicknamed “good old Schuff”:
an academic period from 1877 to 1884, marked by the influence of his master Carolus-Duran;
a neo-Impressionist period from 1884 to 1890;
a Symbolist period from 1890 to 1934.
Rochers à Yport [Rocks at Yport] is one of the most striking works from this second period in which he used broad strokes, similar to Monet. The multicoloured palette used here by Schuffenecker is also reminiscent of Monet: the green and blue of the sea, the pink and mauve of the sky, the orange, ochre, violet, green, and red of the algae on the rocks. The audacious zoom effect on the enormous rock that occupies the left of the canvas, whose gigantic proportions can only be appreciated by the boy in the beret in the foreground, again reminds one of Monet.
Local lore tells us that this small boy is Robert Nunès, the son of Alfred Nunès, mayor of Yport and collector of Impressionist art, whose portrait Renoir painted in 1883 (Barnes Foundation).