|Peach Trees in Blossom, |
1888, Vincent van Gogh
"I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth's sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree."
|Joyce Kilmer, 1908|
Though only God can make a tree, artists have certainly been giving it their best shot almost since art began. Vincent van Gogh painted one of the most beautiful I've ever encountered, Peach Trees in Blossom (above, left) in 1888. Joyce Kilmer's poem may well be the best effort at describing them in words. Did you realize Joyce Kilmer was a man? His poem, dating from 1913, was penned looking out an upstairs window of his parents' home in Mahwah, New Jersey (below). Famous and not-so-famous artists have given us some of the most profoundly beautiful trees ever (perhaps never) seen by man. Some artists have very nearly made a career of painting trees. I've even been known to paint a few myself (below, left), though I'm certainly not in the same league as most of the painters I've collected here today.
|The Kilmer home, Mahwah, New Jersey today. Kilmer's father is said to have loved trees. His son recalled he kept an enormous stack of them for firewood.|
|Evening, Red Tree, 1908, Piet Mondrian. By taking an expressionistic approach to painting trees, then gradually simplifying them more and more, his trees became the framework essence of his later experiments with color and structure.|
|Trees, Piet Mondrian|
And put them in a tree museum.
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em.