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Mondrian’s fascination with trees developed out of his earlier landscape painting. This is one of his last paintings of trees and is based on realistic sketches made in the Netherlands. After settling in Paris and absorbing the influence of Cubism, Mondrian reworked the image almost to abstraction. The trunk and branches are condensed to a network of verticals and horizontals. He acknowledged the inspiration of nature but added, ‘I want to come as close as possible to the truth, and abstract everything from that until I reach the foundation of things’.

April 2013