B

 

 

 

 

oA

During the cubist phase, horizontal and vertical interpenetrate, generating a multiplicity of different relationships (B). It seems that the artist now wants to evoke within the same canvas and in an extremely essential form all the horizontal landscapes, vertical buildings, and horizontal-vertical trees of his previous years.
Nothing is missing from this composition of the fragrant beauty of the landscapes, buildings or trees of previous years. One must see the painting from life to appreciate the marvelous alternation of greens, ceruleans, grays and ochre-grays that transform the surface of the canvas into a living entity that lives a life of its own.
During this process of abstraction the structure of the tree, still veiled by the semblance of a certain particular tree (A), emerges in obvious form within a central rectangle (B). Around the rectangle we see that structure continually change in appearance; now it expands horizontally and now vertically.
A univocal and static configuration (A) becomes multiple and dynamic (B). Although in abstract form, this suggests a variety of trees and at the same time tells us that the same tree (A) can appear in many different ways (B); this was one of the fundamental assumptions of Cubism: to represent things from different points of view.
By reducing the appearances of the world to a changing set of perpendicular relationships, Mondrian performs an arbitrary operation with respect to our common perception of things; an operation that nevertheless allows him to evoke in the two concrete and true dimensions of painting the variety of things present in the real world.
"To paint is not to slavishly copy the object, it is to grasp the harmony between numerous relations and to transfer them into a system of one's own, developing them according to a new and original logic." (C├ęzanne)