Gustav Klimt Tannenwald Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Tannenwald was a painting from Klimt's holiday in Litzlberg on Lake Attersee

Tannenwald translates as fir forest and this was the first of several in a series. The artist also covered other types of trees around this time in his career as well.

The artist carefully places the trees in groups on either side of the canvas, and leaves a small opening in the middle to allow a feeling of depth into the painting.

Artist Gustav started to gain a name for himself around that time from local people around Litzlberg for wandering around the woods for days on end, searching for the right spot to create his next artwork.

Tannenwald, as with many of Klimt's landscapes, was produced on a square canvas which is relatively rare for landscape painting but reflects how the artist was aiming to produce art which was perfectly suited for exhibiting at that time.

Klimt's allegorical paintings often had themes related to life, and his landscapes also beared this theme. This series of forest paintings sit together to form an exciting profile of work similar to that of Monet's Haystacks which themselves demonstrated the impact of light and time on natural objects.

There is a pointilist approach for detail to the trunks in an otherwise very calming canvas. There is also a glimpse of the sky to indicate the world outside. The clearly defined narrow, perfectly vertical nature of the trees gives an almost abstract form which would have been intended by Klimt when selecting the types of trees that he would use in this series.

Tannenwald II followed on closely after this artwork and features a very similar scene, with the artist there choosing to offer greater detail on the fir trees and without the clearing seen in the earlier one in the series. Both paintings were completed in 1901.

It is generally understood that many central European countries had used forest in art with allegorical styles, such as Albrecht Altdorfer who is the earliest known exponent of this. He would paint tall pine trees reaching to the sky as early as the 15th century.

Perhaps Altdorfer was an influence on Klimt in his use of forests in his art but there have also been many other famous landscape painters since then who will have been known to him.