- Gallery Text
A pear tree in full bloom dominates this early landscape by Klimt, the leading proponent of modernist painting in Vienna at the turn of the last century, when the city’s artists and designers rejected the conservative attitudes of the academy and endeavored to create a new art free from historical influence. While a horizontal format is traditionally used for landscapes, Klimt chose a square canvas — a pure geometric shape that was also the Vienna Secession’s dominant decorative motif. In the flowering branches, each dab of paint indicates a single leaf, blossom, or piece of fruit. The flat, flickering field of color evokes both postimpressionist painting and Byzantine mosaics. The left side of the work has a noticeably denser application of paint than the center or the right side. Klimt continued to add to the painting, filling in these bare spots, even after giving it to Emilie Flöge, his muse and mistress, in 1903.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
Gustav Klimt, Austrian (Vienna, Austria 1862 - 1918 Vienna, Austria)
- Pear Tree
- Other Titles
- Original Language Title: Birnbaum
- Work Type
- 1903 (reworked by the artist 1903/1918)
Level 1, Room 1440, Modern and Contemporary Art, Secessionism: Munich, Vienna, Berlin
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- Physical Descriptions
- Oil and casein on canvas
- 101 x 101 cm (39 3/4 x 39 3/4 in.)
framed: 105.5 x 105.5 x 10.5 cm (41 9/16 x 41 9/16 x 4 1/8 in.)
- Emilie Flöge, Vienna, Austria.
Neue Galerie, Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Galerie St. Etienne, Paris, France.
Galerie St. Etienne, New York.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Otto Kallir
- Object Number
- European and American Art
- Publication History
Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 40, repr.
Kristin A. Mortimer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums/Abbeville Press (Cambridge, MA; New York, NY, 1985), no. 369, p. 309, repr.
Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 96, color plate; pp. 115, 276, repr. b/w cat. no. 463
Peter Nisbet and Emilie Norris, Busch-Reisinger Museum: History and Holdings, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 76, ill.
Toni Stooss, ed., Gustav Klimt, exh. cat., Verlag Gerd Hatje (Stuttgart, Germany, 1992), p. 134-135, cat. no. G 32
James Cuno, Harvard's Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting, Harvard University Art Museums/Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Cambridge, MA, 1996), pp. 334-335, repr. color
Jane Kallir, Saved from Europe, Galerie St. Etienne (New York, NY, 1999), p. 24, plate 14
Stephan Koja, ed., Gustav Klimt: Landscapes, exh. cat., Prestel Verlag (Munich, Germany, 2002), plate no. 25
Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 187
Stephan Wolohojian, ed., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), p. 188, ill.
- Exhibition History
Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/15/1980 - 09/01/1980; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980
Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus dem Busch-Reisinger Museum, Stadtische Galerie im Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, 10/23/1982 - 01/16/1983; Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 30, 02/10/1983 - 04/17/1983; Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, 05/08/1983 - 06/26/1983
Gustav Klimt 1862-1918: Modernism in the Making, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 06/15/2001 - 09/16/2001
Gustav Klimt: Landscapes, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, 06/07/2002 - 09/02/2002
“As though my body were naught but ciphers”: Crises of Representation in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 02/12/2005 - 06/12/2005
Re-View: S118 European & American Art since 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/13/2008 - 04/09/2011
Re-View: European and American Art Since 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/03/2011 - 06/01/2013
32Q: 1440 Secessionism: Munich, Vienna, Berlin (Expressionism), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
- Verification Level
3 - Good. Object is well described and information is vetted