The Bibémus quarry, not far from Cézanne's home in Aix-en-Provence, served as motif for a number of the artist's works. The painting in Essen is doubtless his first depiction of these cliffs, formerly used as a quarry. With glazing brush strokes in refined pastel tones, Cézanne composes the massive vertical cliff walls in airy lightness. He contrasts shaded regions with the juxtaposed colors of orange cliffs and purple-blue sky, with blurred treetops forming the horizon.
Karl Ernst Osthaus acquired Bibémus Quarry together with Maison de Bellevue from Ambroise Vollard, Cézanne's long-standing Parisian art dealer, after Osthaus and his wife had visited the artist in Aix shortly before his death in 1906. The painting was confiscated by the National Socialists in 1937 for foreign exchange dealings and ended up in the hands of the Berlin banker Franz König in 1938. Shortly before his death and in desperate straights, he gave this painting to Siegfried Kramarsky, who was able to take it with him when he left for New York. Probably at the beginning of 1960, the Bibérus Quarry came into the possession of the art dealer Walter Feilchenfeldt, sen. and his wife Marianne, who proposed its re-acquisition by the Museum Folkwang in 1964.