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The Gray Tree

Piet Mondrian

The Gray Tree

Piet Mondrian
  • Date: 1911
  • Style: Cubism
  • Genre: landscape
  • Media: oil, canvas
  • Tag: forests-and-trees
  • Dimensions: 79.7 x 109.1 cm

Mondrian also experimented with other art forms before settling on his own neo-plastic form, including post-impressionism, pointillism, and cubism, the latter of which this is an example. This piece contains interlocking blocks, which form together in the shape of a tree. But unlike cubist artists from whom he took his cue, such as Picasso and Georges Braque, Mondrian had yet to merge his artistic style with his spiritual pursuits, and as such this was only one of a few of such cubist experiments. Mondrian still had a few years to go before he would begin to fins his real voice as an artist, although one could argue that his style was ever-changing, culminating in his masterpieces in his later years of life.

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Gray Tree is an oil painting by Piet Mondrian. This painting was made in 1911 on canvas on a board measuring 78.5 × 107.5 cm. It is exhibited at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague.

The work came at a time when Mondrian was beginning to experiment with Cubism: its foreground and background elements seem to intermingle, and the palette is very restricted. The tree is subtly oval in form, following another Cubist practice seen in works by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Mondrian's oval became explicit, framing the work, in paintings that followed over the next three or four years. Apple Tree in Flower, also from 1912, is a similarly sized composition. Though the outline of the "apple tree" recalls that of Gray Tree, the work is significantly more faceted and abstract.

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