The Austrian artist Gustav Klimt painted the landscape entitled Birch Forest, or Birkenwald, in 1903 during a summer trip to Litzlberg. This work is part of a series of paintings inspired by the natural atmosphere of Lake Attersee, including Fir Forest I, Beech Forest Buchenwald I, and Pine Forest II. The painter would wake up at the break of dawn to stroll in the woods, catching the attention of locals who referred to him as Waldschrat, or a forest goblin. Before completing these paintings, Klimt had only practiced landscape painting for a few years, but by the end of his career, this theme represented a significant amount of his work.
Klimt’s unique approach to landscapes made his lack of training not become an issue. As a modern painter with unique aesthetic values, the artist gave new life to a portrait of nature, following his instinctive artistic style. The painting Birch Forest shows a landscape with no sky and a questionable horizon, but equally as freeing as an open seascape. This autumn scene is beautifully enriched with a vibrant complementary color palette. The ground is filled with fallen leaves in specks of many tonalities of brown, orange, and yellow, along with some hints of green. These warm pigments extend into the distance, taking up about three-fourths of the canvas.
The view is filled with many trees, creating strong vertical lines across the canvas. The trunks are gray-brown and feature horizontal lines as their natural texture along with dark brown areas of moss. The bottom of every tree – with the exception of the thin ones – there is a thick layer of moss. All of the trees exceed the limit of the canvas, giving the viewer a sense of the overwhelming power of nature. The top part of the canvas is painted with dark green, representing the leaves.
Klimt delicately added two small purple flowers growing side by side in the right corner of the forefront of the composition. Although the flowers are discrete and not the focal point of the painting, they create essential elements to make this a uniquely sensitive work of art and giving Klimt’s landscape whole new sense of poetic value. The artworks of this series were all done on location, but they were mostly concluded in the artist’s studio.
Important Notes About Your Painting:
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