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Forest of Beech Trees
Gustav Klimt's Forest of Beech Trees is a part of a compilation of forest paintings the artist created to accentuate their presence, from 1901 - 1904. These works include Fir forest I, Fir forest II, Birch Forest, Beech Forest, and Beech Tree. The painting was conceived in 1903, within the same month as Birch Forest. Both pieces carry the similar theme of birch trees within the forest as it transition into fall.
During the summer, Klimt had travelled to Lake Attersee, spending his months exploring the wildlife and painting the beautiful nature around him. The artist woke up each day at 6am and wondered the lush forests around him. The locals referred to him as a man who lived in the forest, due to his strong dedication toe wander the open land. The trip influences Klimt's work and he transitioned to an impressionist technique to paint the setting around him.
Forest of Beech Trees illustrates a deep forest covered in Birch trees, accentuating one another. Klimt has steered away from his gold phase and realist technique to impressionism and landscape drawings as many of his colleges at the time did too. However Klimt's classic brushstrokes enabled the painting to come alive as the detail throughout the piece is transforming.
Klimt had deepened the landscape within the painting by using elongating techniques; this included vertical brush strokes to create a sense of depth. Every brush stroke within the painting is moving upwards, which in turn creates the illusion of a landscape instead of a flat surface. The birch trees scatter the canvas in a vertical form adding to the depth of the piece. The skinny trees are placed strategically in a pattern to add to the frame. This method stems from Klimt's mosaic patterns where he would create movement through swirls, zigzags and lines to add symmetry to his work.
Shades of yellow, orange and red fill the ground of the painting, as leaves from the trees decay on the ground. The reds in the painting add a flash of colour, however are so prominent as the yellow and orange leaves within the piece resemble gold. This technique stems from Gustav Klimt's gold phase, where the artist used gold and bronze material to accentuate his work. As Klimt transitions to impressionism, he uses his gold colours to highlight the red throughout the piece. Alongside, the leaves that are spread amongst the ground carry a mosaic style to the piece. These colours of red are mixed with the gold to add an aesthetically pleasing array to the classic forest piece.
Gustav Klimt's work forces the viewer to ponder on the image that they are looking at. The deep forest resonates an array of emotions with people as they remember the peaceful scenery they are engulfed in. The leaves located amongst the floor illustrate the transition of the painting from summer into autumn, as the scenery changes and so do the emotions within the viewer.