The artist gifted many of his finest paintings to the Musée d'Orsay in Paris in his will and Vue de toits (Effet de neige) was a part of that group. The artist struggled to sell his work during his own lifetime but in recent years there has been a considerable increase in interest in his career, matched by rising auction prices when his work has come up for sale. The study of the impact of weather and the seasons on objects was a key element of impressionism and in this case Caillebotte focuses on the beauty of snow in the city.
The palette of this painting is greatily reduced to shades of grayscale, with touches of brown added afterwards. In some ways this resembles the work of Whistler, an artist closely related to the work of the impressionists. This contrasts from most of Caillebotte's other paintings which typically make use of warm summer colours, though he did incorporate snow into several other paintings during this period of experimentation and exploration.
The artist produced several memorable paintings which depicted urban scenes from the perspective of the viewer, who is also included in the scene. In this case, though, it is a straight view from perhaps a balcony or roof top window over a neighbouring set of roofs, with no-one included. This painting was first documented for its appearance at the fourth Impressionist Exhibition in 1879, coming alongside 24 other artworks from this artist. Despite his exposure at these prestigious events, he was unable to sell many of his creations during his own lifetime.