This painting, created in the year of 1903 during his visit to Litzlberg, is an important piece for the Secession movement in Vienna. Klimt painted The Pear Tree at the peak of his Golden Era, where artists around this time and age were sharply moving away from realistic classic style and perspective and getting into a phase of change and experimentation.
There are prominent characteristics of the Art Nouveau on the geometrically shaped leaves, fruits, and blossoms, and yet the Impressionist style of the color palette might be one of its most striking characteristics.
On the painting, we see one main pear tree on the foreground and a myriad of trees as we move along towards the background. The trunk of the main tree is thoroughly worked with brushstrokes and sponge strokes, and we can see a variety of colors. Light and dark, cold browns not only shape the trunk and branches but also show volume and texture. There is also some moss painted on a warm, bright green moving towards the treetop. The other trunks fade into the distant, and not only are slimmer but also were painted with a more limited palette, either dark or light brown, helping the eye of the viewer to be guided towards the main tree.
The leaves, pears, and blossoms occupy the main space of the painting and are the first thing that pops into the viewer’s eye. A majestic rounded treetop carefully detailed with thousands of small brushstrokes and dots crowns the larger trunk in the front. The stroke of the brush forms perfect pear shapes and at the same time create an Impressionist dotted style of color. Despite a large area of the painting being the flat rounded crown of the frontal tree, there is a sensation of perspective, as the artist shrunk the dots and strokes towards the background, where we can see smaller fruits and leaves.
The pears are painted in a vibrant yellow, and they are easy to spot in the middle of the leafy green bush. The rest of the volume of the treetop is designed in lavender, blue, and green. The delicate color work becomes more evident as we step back from the painting and observe the carefully composed lightness of this painting. It’s easy to spot the sun beaming right to left, the right volume of the treetop being lighter and brighter, and the shades of lavender blue gaining area and volume as we move the eye to the left of the piece.
The image of the encumbered trees is kept to the end of the perspective lines. The strokes get smaller, but the diversity of colors and dots is maintained.
This oil on canvas is currently on display in the Fogg Art Museum, in Harvard University.
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