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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Why shouldn’t art be pretty? – Renoir

Even though Pierre-Auguste Renoir was one of the initiators of impressionism his painting’s themes were different from the rest. The Impressionists (Monet, Degas, Sisley, Manet, and Pissaro) made paintings- ‘en plein air’ (outdoors), he preferred making figure’s over landscapes, particularly of women. All his paintings had pleasing themes, subjects with joyful expressions and beautiful rosy faces. He once quoted- Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.

Dance at le Moulin de la Galette (shown above) is one of his most popular masterpieces. One of his recurring themes was to illustrate the celebratory nature of the Parisians. The artwork shows, couples dancing in the open-air dance hall and café on a Sunday afternoon. The joyful mood and carefree ambiance fashioned by Renoir reflects the typical life style of the Moulin society. His hallmark technique of short and quick brush strokes makes the subjects look animated and vibrant. Renoir figures had soft contours, mildly blending with each other which made them look blurred, adding a dreamy feel to the painting.

The entire canvas is covered with spots of light and shadow, suggesting bright sunlight filtering through the trees. This adds a gleaming summery experience to the scenario. On the whole, he managed to capture the vivacious spirit of the Parisian’s very skillfully.

Another favorite theme of the artist was portraying people engaged in their daily life in informal situations. ‘Girls at piano’ and ‘In the Meadow’ (shown below) are two such artworks that captured relaxed and casual real life scenarios. The former, depicts young girls enjoying their favorite pastime of playing the piano, which was typical of that time. Models for both the paintings are same, the second painting –‘In the Meadow’ shows an intimate view of two young girl’s leisurely picking flowers.

One of Renoir’s most delightful, life size compositions of contemporary life is- ‘Country Dance’ (shown below), it shows a young couple dancing in an open-air restaurant. Numerous elements of the artwork indicate that it’s a spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment dance. The unfinished meal in the background, the fallen hat and the seated crowd on the left, are the visual evidence. The supple brushstrokes and superbly crafted pose adds grace to dance movement.

Renoir focuses on the pleasure of the couple, their closeness and lady’s gleeful expressions are the highlight of the painting. The young woman, totally absorbed in the moment, cheerfully smiles at the viewers involving them in her experience.

In his lifetime Renoir painted around 6000 paintings, he was also well-known for his still life’s of fruits and flowers. Even though he wasn’t an outdoor artist, his experimental landscapes were no less picturesque than the other impressionist artists. Shown below are some of his other popular artworks:-

Woman with a Parasol in a garden

Rocky Crags at L Estaque

La Grenouillere

Pont Neuf- Paris

In the Woods

Bouquet in a Vase and Bouquet of Chrysanthemums

Mixed Flowers in an Earthenware and Still Life with Bouquet

Peaches and Grapes

Claude Monet’s love affair with nature

Claude Monet, one of the most famous painter in the history of art, known best as the father of Impressionism had a fanatical fascination for landscapes. His style of capturing light and natural forms laid the foundation of the revolutionary art movement- impressionism. All his life he experimented with variations of color, passing effect of light and reflection.

Even as a student in the art academy, Monet never liked being confined to the classrooms. He was more interested in exploring and capturing Mother Nature with his paints on the canvas. His avant-garde technique of loose and short brushstrokes captured the essence and impression of the landscape’s. The uniquely unfinished look of his artwork is what ended the realistic classical art era and paved the way for a new art movement- impressionism. Shown below are some of his most popular paintings.

Impression- Sunrise (shown above) was one of the paintings displayed in the first art exhibition held by all the impressionist artists (Manet, Renoir, Degas, Monet etc) the artwork coined the word impressionism. It was made by the artist within 40 minutes. The critics used the title of the painting to phrase the exhibition as-“The Exhibition of the Impressionists” hence accidentally defining the new art movement.

The town of Argenteuill with its scenic appeal lured the artist in to making some of the most exquisite and groundbreaking paintings. Shown below are a few of his artworks which reflected some of Argenteuil’s most picturesque view’s, one of them being the artists own garden in Argenteuil.

The Bridge at Argenteuil

Bassin d’Argenteuil

The Artist’s Garden in Argenteuil

Monet made a series of remarkable paintings of the celebrated Poppies at Argenteuil. Three of which are shown below.

Poppy Field (Mrs. Monet and her son in the background)

 Poppy Field in a Hollow

Poppy Field

Woman with a Parasol (Mrs Monet and their son) was painted in a single session probably within few hours, the impulsiveness is clearly visible with the bold and dynamic strokes of multiple shades. The subject of the painting is casual, it depicts a relaxed family outing on a sunny, fair weather day. Upwards perspective, windy atmosphere and the juxtaposition of Mrs Monet with her partly visible son, adds a sense of amazing depth.

Some of Monet’s monumental coastal landscapes (shown below) have received much appreciation by art historians and collectors. The illustrative and flowy effect in his seascape’s is depicted with great dexterity by the artist, using his signature style of energetic, animated and free flowing brushstrokes.

Vétheuil

The Beach at Sainte Adresse

 French Port of Le Havre

Three Fishing Boats

Flower Beds at Vétheuil (shown below) is one of the artworks made by Monet during his stay in the town of Vétheuil, along the Seine. The uniqueness of this artwork is the usage of complementary colors applied in a thick and fragmentary manner, adding a spirited commotion to the painting.

Unlike other artist of that time Monet composed artworks with industrial subjects and manmade green belts with much grace and artistry. Below is one of the finest example of the same. This bold choice marked his artworks with originality and gave his paintings a very contemporary look.

Train in the Countryside

Monets garden in Givery was a major source of inspiration for his most notable paintings that captured the quintessential characteristics of impressionism. The water lilies series that he made during this phase are considered to be his most treasured masterpieces. Often, a single spot was made by him on numerous canvasses under different lighting and weather conditions. The artworks when placed together depict the changing hues and shades with a silky flow. Shown below are two of his paintings from the Water Lilies series.

 The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool

 

6 Reasons to why you should visit Art Exhibition’s

We can probably list out hundreds of reasons to visit an Art exhibition however let’s start with 6 points to spare you the torture of a long post.

To take pleasure of an artworks’ grandeur and enormity, one must view it physically. Times have changed, art lovers can now view paintings on online galleries but experiencing art the traditional way has a charm of its own.

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The benefit as a visitor for an art show is that you will always get to see the finest handpicked art works of the showcased artists. Curators and artist collectively filter out the best artworks to be displayed for an Art exhibition from their collection. There is a lot of thinking and planning done in short listing the pieces.

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Its FREE! What could be better than a free entry to a setting with a marvelous visual treat? Even restaurants bill you for enjoying their ambience. In an exhibition you get a chance to be surrounded with rich creativity of contemporary artworks which you can leisurely enjoy without any time limit.

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Experiencing art awakens compassion and empathy in us, it helps us identify with the world of another. Art in any form is a window to the thoughts of the creator, be it poetry, music, movies or novels. Understanding the underlying feelings and relating it with oneself is what forms an emotional connection with not just the creators’ mind-set but also with the depicted composition. A work of art also facilitates us to self explore.

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Exhibitions serve as stress busters –‘far from the maddening crowd’. If you are lucky enough to visit an Art Show with a wide variety of exquisite work of art which you can easily identify with, it would truly be a spiritual experience.

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There is an artist in all of us waiting to be explored, visiting an art show is one of the many ways of unlocking our creative side. Being surrounded with art and creativity automatically makes you look at things from a new perspective, generates original thoughts and inspirational ideas.

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So step out, visit exhibitions and attend opening receptions of art shows, be an enthusiastic experience-seeker. For all you know, you may even want to make a return visit.

Ocher Art takes this opportunity to thank all the visitors who came for the 3rd edition of our Annual Art Show.

 

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Image source- Media coverage of Ocher Art’s Annual Art Exhibition’s. Artworks are of eminent artists showcased on ocherart.com