Masterpieces with Single Tree Composition

Fundamentally, all landscape paintings have a focal point, which draws the viewer’s eye to the heart of the paintings composition. For instance (as shown below), the cypress trees serve as the focal point in Vincent van Gogh’s painting ‘Wheat Field and Cypress Trees’, the sun in Claude Monet’s painting ‘Impression’ and the central tree in the painting ‘Banks of the Marne’ by Paul Cezanne.

But what if the composition of the painting comprises of a single tree, the focal point diminishes and the central figure is the lone subject of the painting. Which genre would the artwork fall under – Landscape, subject study or symbolic art? The theme sounds vague, boring and bland but surprisingly this rare composition has been captured beautifully by many master artists. We explore few such masterpieces that aesthetically illustrate this atypical theme.

The Mulberry Tree by Vincent van Gogh-
The isolated tree shown against a rocky terrain has its branches spread out with a blast of fiery colors. Vincent managed to create a magical autumn experience by means of just a single tree.

 

 

Rose bushes under the Trees by Gustav Klimt-
The canvas is like a confetti explosion of various shades of greens and yellows. Klimt’s unique composition of a single tree with rich foliage, depicted with tiny specks of brush strokes is one of his most popular masterpieces.

 

 

The Tree Series by Piet Mondrian-
The solitary trees in the series are depicted in their most basic and simplistic form, true to Mordrian’s art movement ‘De Stijl’ / ’The Style’. Cleverly angled brush strokes, and limited palette void of greens are the unique characteristics of this series.

 

 

The Bonaventure Pine by Paul Signac-
Painted in pointillism style a huge Umbrella Pine tree stretches across the canvas. The subdued background highlights the majestic form and the interesting shape of the tree. Following the pointillism technique of small dots applied in patterns, pixels of lighter tone sprinkled around the tree, suggest sunlight filtering through the leaves, adding a dreamy feel to the painting.

 

 

Autumn trees by Egon Schiele-
The bare lone trees made by the expressionist artists are metamorphic, the series deal with the themes related to death and rebirth. Grey palette, twisted trunk, cloudy sky and entwined branches are a compelling portrayal of a stormy winter, allegorical of misery and loneliness.

 

 

Pine Tree near Aix by Paul Cezanne-
The composition of this artwork differs from the rest, it’s unique and abstract, much like the other artworks of the post impressionist artist. The central figure (i.e. the pine tree) gets cut from all sides and is used as a frame for the painting. The mesh of the branches connecting the sides, combine all the elements to the center of the composition.

 

 

The Oak by Edvard Munch-
The artwork has an interesting color scheme, cool sky tones gradually descend to warm earthy color, diagonally from top left to bottom right. Though the color gradient of the tree is reflected on the background, yet Munch successively managed to highlight the tree as the central figure.

 

 

The Pink Peach Tree by Vincent Van Gogh-
The painting depicts a peach tree in bloom during springtime, despite being painted with subtle and pastel shades the artwork looks vibrant and spirited. The perspective exaggerated by the tapering flow of the brush strokes helps in highlighting the tree as the main subject.

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Th.V. Doesburg, Drei Haeuser by Juan Gris-
The abstract treatment represents the tree as a three-dimensional form viewed from a single perspective. The cubist artist’s composition despite its simplified geometric forms retains the look and feel of a landscape.

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Tree in flower near Vetheuil by Claude Monet-
The father of impressionism’s technique of capturing light and its effect on the color of the object is at play in this painting. The light and shade on the solitary tree are represented brilliantly with precise dabs and dashes of varied tones.

 

 

Little Oak Tree by Franz Marc-
The simplicity of the painting is reminiscent of ‘The Mulberry Tree’ by Vincent van Gogh (first painting on the top), spirals of fresh green leaves are highlighted by the brilliant blue sky and animated strokes of the ground.

 

 

The Fig Tree by Paul Klee-
The lone trees’ composition, monochromatic tones and the arrangement of the colored shapes reflect the artists experience in stain glass.

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L’Arbre (The Tree) by Pablo Picasso-
Picasso’s neutral colored artwork illustrates a stylized tree, with array of bold strokes and distorted shapes, the composition is compact with interlinked forms.

 

 

A Great Tree by  J. W. Turner-
The Watercolor artwork projects a powerful and majestic tree, the composition partly cuts the tree from the sides, highlighting the sunlit part of the tree as the focal point.

 

 

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5 Misconceptions about Art for Small Apartments

Common belief is that small apartment’s face restrictions on the kind of art to be selected for the interiors. In truth, there are no hard and fast rules to be followed for the size, color, number or theme of the paintings for a residence short on space. If you want to personalize your home with artworks of your choice, just follow your heart. Compromising on art because of space issues is like killing the soul of your room. In fact, a skillful placement and a fitting selection can be smartly used to create an illusion of more space. We have pulled out few classic misconceptions people have for selecting art for their apartment-

Use Light Colored Artworks

‘Hang light colored paintings’, is a rule we are advised to follow for decorating a small room. A professional Interior designer would be willing to break this rule and yet be able to create a sense of space. Simply following subdued tones for a small space is boring, if you wish to hang a deep colored artwork, reflect the darker hues of the paintings on other accessories of the room and juxtaposition the light and dark tones of the room in a manner that adds depth to the space and enhances the neutral shades. Layering of colors adds dimension and makes the room look airy.

Colors from Degas painting ‘Dancers’ reflected on various accessories adds depths to the space.

Image- Margaret Donaldson Interiors

 

Darker tones of the painting ‘Turkish Soldiers Casting Bullets’ and other design elements enhances the lighter shades of the room.

Image- Better Homes and Gardens

 

Only use Small Artworks

Contrary to popular belief of using small artworks for an apartment that lacks space, a large artwork can be an innovate way of adding style and if selected dexterously it can create an illusion of a wider space. For a small room with poor lighting or a windowless space, a large landscape painting makes a lot of difference, it creates a feeling of wider space. Huge, bold and simple art prints which are not too busy or elaborate like abstract art, maps or vintage posters are few of the many tricks used by professional interior designers for adding an illusion of increased space in small apartments and flats.

The scenery ‘Rest along the Stream’ made by Alfred Sisley gives a fresh and airy feeling to the sitting arrangement.

Image source- Better Homes & Gardens

 

A huge map adds an impression of a wider space to a vintage setting.

Image source-  majestymaps.com

 

Picasso’s artwork ‘The Young Ladies of Avignon’ gives a relief to the colorful setting.

Image source-  sukio.com, Designed by Nick Olsen

 

Don’t use Busy or Multicolored Artworks

Another erroneous notion is that an intricate or busy artwork can get overpowering and swallow a lot of space. In fact an engaging painting, involuntarily becomes a focal point, causing a space diminishing effect making the surroundings seem more spacious. If we strike a right balance of size and distance with the other design elements, an intricate and detailed artwork can work wonders for a small space.

Orientalist Painting ’The Carpet Merchants’ made by Jean-Léon Gérôme gives a diminishing feeling to the space.

Image source-  veranda.com

 

Orientalist Painting ’The Dance’ made by Giulio Rosati takes the center stage, as a focal point.

Image source- oldbrandnew.com

The Tiger by Marc Franzis gives the receding effect to the space

Image source-  Better Homes and Gardens

 

Don’t Fill the Walls

Don’t let limited space be a deterrent for displaying your large art collection. Salon-style grouping is a perfect solution for displaying assembly of your exquisite artworks in the trendiest and refreshing manner. It accentuates the height of the ceiling making it seem taller and creates a cozy feeling. Composing salon-style wall is however a challenge, the theme, color palette, size, distance and framing are factors that need to be planned with utmost understanding. A flawed composition can ruin the display by making it look over whelming. Distance between each piece and aesthetic harmony are two main factors to be kept in mind for the composition.

Image source-  houzz.com

Image source-  Better Homes and Gardens

 

Fewer Artworks

For small apartments with heavy-duty and bulky furnishing, we are tempted to follow the rule ‘Lesser the better’ but as per a professional interior designer, fewer artworks is no solution for space issues, it will in no way make the room look any bigger. Instead bare walls would make the room lifeless like an empty shell. While you may not want an over whelming effect on every wall, there’s no harm done in putting up a selection of your favorites’ for personalizing your home, to suit your taste and style. However in this case, the trick is to use lighter and simpler design elements in the vicinity to retain the room’s spaciousness.

‘The Kiss’ by Gustav Klimt and other abstract Art Print’s work well with the light and restrained interior.

Image source-  Dona Rosene Interiors

 

Abstract artwork’s by Kazimir Malevich and Paul Klee despite the size retain the airy feeling of the space.

Image source-  architecturaldigest.com, designed by Christina Murphy

Is Abstract Art Really Art?

guernica

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

Abstract art is a genre that stirs up extreme emotions, for some it is the most creative and novel way of expressing an artistic vision on the other hand there are a set of art enthusiasts who find it unimaginative, meaningless and even go so far as to say-  “it is an excuse for being a bad artist”. The statement is unquestionably false and invalid, master artists like Pablo Picasso and Kazimir Malevic started as brilliant realist artists, gradually after decades of experience headed towards abstraction as their style and techniques progressively matured. As Picasso quoted- “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

Shown below (Left) is a portrait of Picasso’s mother made by him in his early teens. On the right is the painting- ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ (The Young Ladies of Avignon) , it is considered to be the prototype that shaped Cubism and Modern art. The evident style difference shows the creative maturity achieved by Picasso over the years.

 

Shown below (Left) is a realistic still life made by Henri Matisse, in his early years. On the right is his masterpiece painting- ‘Dance’ made after he founded Fauvism. The drastic transformation in his style proves the various techniques he adopted as his style matured over time.

HenriMatisse

 

Shown below is a portrait of Kazimir Malevic’s wife made by him in the early years of his career. On the right is the painting- ‘Suprematism’ made after he pioneered geometric abstraction.

 

“Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for colors, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential.” – Wassily Kandinksky

To evoke emotions from a visual composition of shapes, lines and color that are completely detached from reality is what an abstract artist wishes to accomplish. It’s a tricky and tough target to achieve, the artwork needs to be intriguing and absorbing enough to give a viewer pause for thought.

Each one of us would have a different emotional reaction, interpretation and understanding of an abstraction, that is the unique creative character of non-representational art. Seeing Paul Klee’s painting (shown below) one might spot, drama and positive energy in the shape shifting color distribution but for some the patterned pastel shades may generate feeling of melancholy or chaos.

 

Feeling intimidated or stressing over deciphering the art would only ruin your visual experience, creative imagination and curiosity is all that’s needed to appreciate and enjoy the an abstract artwork.  What was the artist thinking while making the painting?  What is the message of the artwork? These are pointless questions best kept at bay. Abstract art is open to multiple connotations, it is like a prism that separates a single idea into a spectrum of interpretations.

In summary, abstract art is not an easy route taken by amateur artists, it is an idea that has fermented over years through various movements, experiments and techniques. Before the advent of camera, traditional arts theory was to capture live scenarios as close to reality as possible. Impressionist artists (late 19th century) were the first to defy the traditional methods by introducing abstraction in the art domain with a radical technique of coloring. Following various movements like Expressionism & Fauvism, by early 21st century Cubist artists like Picasso, Georges Braque and Juan Gris gave a sweeping turn by rejecting the most fundamental elements of art- Perspective and Pictorial Depth. Abstract art further evolved with successive movements like Surrealist and Op-art and it continues to progress and transform from post modernism to contemporary art scenario.

Shown below are artworks- La bouteille d’anis (The Bottle of Anis) and Les raisins made by cubism artist Juan Gris.

 

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