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1 - The Red Tree (Evening), 1908-10

2 - The Gray Tree, 1911

3 - Flowering Appletree, 1912

4 - Flowering Trees, 1912

5 - Tableau 3, Composition in Oval, 1913

6- The Tree A, 1913

7 - Tableau 4, Composition 8, 1913

8 - Composition 7, 1913

9 - Composition II, 1913

 

Between 1911 and 1912 the solid figure of the tree was shattered with the Cubist transformation of space; object and space interpenetrate and thus put an end to the unifying function of the trunk, which dissolves and tends to become one with the many branches.

 

While this happens, space can be seen to thicken toward the middle in some canvases.This can be seen in 3, where a touch of ocher highlights two curvilinear signs that are more closely connected than the others, as though in an effort to hold the space together.
This can be seen in 4 with two semicircles in the central area that appear designed to evoke a synthesis of the composition.

 

In 5 an oval shape unifies the whole composition from outside. As we have seen, Mondrian had already used a kind of oval form during the naturalistic period.
In the lower part of 6 we see an absolute vertical that displays a tendency to expand horizontally in the upper section.

 

The painter appears to have endeavored in 6 to maintain compositional coherence based on one predominant direction so as not to disrupt the composition as a whole.
7 shows a concentration of space in the lower central part of the composition where the trunk of the naturalistic / expressionistic tree unified the multiplicity of the branches.

 

 

Having lost the synthesis metaphorically evoked with the trunk, the painter is searching for a new sense of unity in the cubist type of space.
Besides adopting the oval, the painter also chose in this phase to reduce the chromatic range in order to maintain greater compositional unity, at least in terms of color.


 

 

 

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