Gustav Klimt Birch Forest is one of the artist's most famous tree paintings. This oil on canvas artwork forms part of a series of forest paintings by Klimt in the early twentieth century.
When was Birch Forest painted?
Gustav Klimt painted Birch Forest in 1902. It depicts a densely packed grouping of birch trees in early autumn. Red, orange, and golden leaves adorn the forest floor.
These flashes of color dominate the lower two-thirds of the composition. Despite this, green remnants are visible against the distant white sky.
Klimt’s brushstrokes contrast vertical and horizontal strokes. As a result, the trees are primarily created from vertical movements, while the leaves appear as straight lines across the canvas.
In addition, the vertical tree trunks separate the painting into thin lines of color, gradually receding toward the distance.
All these details create an intensely patterned and decorative painting. This technique stemmed from Klimt’s interest in mosaics, sparked after a trip to Ravenna in Italy. Similarly, Klimt’s bright forest leaves appear like a mosaic on the autumn ground.
How Many Klimt Tree paintings are there?
These paintings all present similar views. In an incredibly close-up manner, they zoom in on multiple vertical trees. The artworks all create enigmatic yet slightly eerie scenes with few other plants or flowers.
What unites all these artworks is Klimt’s technical mastery. He combines elements of pointillism and post-impressionism to create dynamic and exciting views. The influence of pointillism is particularly evident in Klimt’s use of repeating dots and dabs in contrasting colors.
Where is the original painting Birch Trees oil painting?
Gustav Klimt often traveled to Lake Attersee during the late summer months. Also known as Kamersee or Lake Atter, it was a beautiful spot in Upper Austria. Klimt holidayed in this location from the late 1890s onwards.
He adored the change of pace from cosmopolitan Vienna, and the setting inspired many Gustav Klimt landscapes. Most notable among these were his Forest artworks.
While visiting Lake Attersee, Klimt rose every day at six in the morning. In addition, he frequently walked around the surrounding fields and forests. Indeed, Klimt was so focused and intense that the locals nicknamed him “Waldschrat.” The nickname translates as “forest demon.”
Today, Gustav Klimt’s Beech Forest hangs in the Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden, Germany.
What style is Klimt's Birch Forest painting?
Gustav Klimt’s Birch Trees shows the artist’s interest in impressionism and post-impressionism. He represents the trees and leaves with quick, stubbled brushstrokes.
Despite the lack of natural sun among the dense foliage, Klimt still creates light and movement. His color palette also reflects recent trends toward more vivid hues.
Klimt’s “Gold Phase” started in 1901. It lasted until 1909, which places Beech Forest right in the middle of this period. While it doesn’t use gold leaf (like other famous Gustav Klimt art, such as The Kiss and The Beethoven Frieze), it does present a riot of golden tones.
As well as these golden hues, the interplay of green and red makes Klimt’s trees jump out of the canvas. Against the red and orange background, their white and green barks shimmer and shine.
Gustav Klimt Art Reproductions
With such a long and prolific career, Gustav Klimt's landscapes are some of our most popular reproduction oil paintings.
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