red tree piet mondrian
Willow Grove: Impression of Light and Shadow, 1905
This painting shows the artist’s luminist period where he painted realistically but with brighter than actual colors and simplifying contours. This painting is a cross-over to his more rectangular and analytical style. Mondrian painted this painting in the Zeeland coastal resort of Domburg, at that time a popular artist’s colony in the summer months. His trees illustrate his shift towards abstract cubism:.
The Red Tree, one of the most important in Mondrian s series on the tree theme, was done in the same year as the Windmill in Sunlight. In its color range and brushwork, and above all in its conception of nature, it shows many points of contact with that other picture. Here too there seems to be a definite influence of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. The painting recalls certain of Vincent’s pictures of trees, particularly olive trees and cypresses, in which the brushwork, along with the simplification of color, plays so important a part. But reference to these paintings is not by itself sufficient to explain the origin and character of the Red Tree.
A good deal is known about the history of this canvas. There are several sketches and studies for it, making it possible to assign the picture its place in Mondrian’s evolution. The remarkably thoroughgoing simplification of the color range and the trend toward nonnaturalistic colors, much more evident and decisive than in his previous paintings, are the most striking characteristics of the canvas, confirming the emphasis on color that preoccupied Mondrian throughout 1908. In that year, during which his horizon opened out toward international art, color was his chief concern, the most important new factor. And the way in which he here revolts against tonalism and collects his entire experience into the concordance of blue and red shows him for the first time to be an independent discoverer, an artist capable of developing a style of his own.
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Flowering Apple Tree, 1912
Composition with Gray and Light Brown, 1918
W ith his many studies of trees, Piet Mondrian demonstrated his process of distilling the essence of beauty from naturally harmonious forms. He was attracted to trees because of their complex and often chaotic structure. Yet, at the same time they are balanced compositions that also respond to, and reflect, their environment along with the action of time. In order to better understand the underlying forms, Mondrian, repeatedly painted the same tree reducing the visual language he used with each treatment…
In this process Mondrian deconstructs natural form in an attempt to understand the underlying rules of harmony that cause the satisfying emotion we feel when appreciating natural scenes. He believed that this is the same emotion we recognise as ‘beauty’ and devoted most of his career to exploring the cause and effects of it.