In the first of these two articles yesterday, I showed a series of paintings of the changing colours and fall of leaves in the autumn/fall. This concludes my selection, starting from after about 1890. It’s time for even more leaf-peeping.
The Austrian Post-Impressionist landscape painter Tina Blau painted her favourite park, Vienna’s Prater Gardens, as its trees were just starting to change colour one autumn, probably around 1890.
Several of Monet’s series of paintings include the colours of autumn – here, the distinctive poplars sweeping alongside the River Epte, a few kilometers from his home at Giverny.
This is near William Merritt Chase’s country retreat at Shinnecock on Long Island.
Georges Lacombe’s Chestnut Gatherers shows ‘mysterious’ woods in Brittany as local women are gathering in the chestnut harvest.
Camille Pissarro’s take on poplars at this time of year is less memorable, but more characteristic, perhaps. This is one of the hundreds of works which form his huge series painted around his home at Éragny-sur-Epte, near the same river featured in Monet’s poplar series. Although by this time Pissarro’s brief period of Divisionism was finished, its influence lives on in his fine patches of colour.
John Ferguson Weir’s East Rock, New Haven shows woods near New Haven, Connecticut, with the prominent ‘trap rock ridge’ of East Rock as their backdrop.
Hans Andersen Brendekilde’s Wooded Path in Autumn shows woodland in Denmark, with an open narrative in its figures. Does the woman sitting on the bench know the men in the distance?
Adrian Stokes and his artist wife Marianne, who was Austrian by birth, travelled widely in Europe. Autumn in the Mountains (1903) shows young birch trees in their more subtle autumn colours, probably in the European Alps.
Clarence Gagnon’s Brittany Goose Girl shows a stand of poplars in Brittany.
During the early years of the twentieth century in the USA Post-Impressionism was transforming into Modernism. Marsden Hartley’s Carnival of Autumn (1908) is an early example of that transition, with its brash colours and almost Divisionist technique.
The Canadian Tom Thomson’s plein air landscape paintings are true impressions of often transient conditions, and were frequently made in the autumn, to capture its colours. Some, such as Autumn’s Garland (1915-16), were painted in the studio during the following winter, from those sketches he had made in front of the motif.
Painted in the studio during the winter before Thomson’s tragic accidental death, The Pointers (1916-17) refers to the loggers’ ‘pointer’ boats shown crossing this lake. Strangely, Thomson doesn’t appear to have based this on a previous plein air sketch.
Egon Schiele’s Four Trees is an Expressionist work based on views in Austria, showing four young chestnut trees in the setting sun.
More traditional styles of landscape painting survived both the rush to Modernism and the carnage of the First World War. This canvas by the Spanish artist Enrique Simonet shows a very Spanish motif: the Dehesa.
This is a type of landscape characteristic of southern and central Spain and Portugal (where it is known as montado). The Dehesa is a traditional mixed, multifunctional environment providing grazing for cattle, goats, sheep and pigs, mixed trees centred on oaks, and support for many endangered species such as the Iberian lynx and Spanish imperial eagle. It also looks marvellous in the autumn.
Julian Onderdonk’s Fall Landscape shows countryside near the artist’s home in San Antonio, Texas.
Finally, from the end of the Second World War in Europe, is Paul Nash’s surrealist Landscape of the Moon’s Last Phase (1944), one of a series exploring the phases of the moon. Prominent in his composition are the trees of an Iron Age hill fort, one of the Wittenham Clumps, on the border of Berkshire and Oxfordshire, England.
When Nash had first seen these, he described them as “a beautiful legendary country haunted by old gods long forgotten”. In the classical pantheon, the autumn/fall lacked a significant deity, but I think that Nash and the other artists have come close to depicting its earthly form.