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Between and Mortarboard


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The Three Trees

Accession Number
1983/1.409

Title
The Three Trees

Artist(s)
Jean Metzinger

Object Creation Date
circa 1921

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

Dimensions
21 3/8 in. x 28 7/8 in. ( 54.3 cm x 73.3 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of the Estate of Maxine W. Kunstadter in memory of Sigmund Kunstadter, Class of 1922

Label copy
March 28, 2009
Metzinger is recognized as one of the first artists to articulate the theories of Cubism. He laid out his ideas in the book Du Cubisme, co-authored in 1912 with Albert Gleizes. In it he explained that Cubist painting was the synthesis of multiple views and experiences over time, which demanded the abandonment of classic one-point perspective. Although these ideas have since been discredited as a misunderstanding and misrepresentation of Picasso’s and Braque’s Cubism and the scientific principles from which they borrowed their concept of time as the fourth dimension, Metzinger was nevertheless instrumental in introducing the contemporary public to Cubism as an artistic movement.
This painting is from a brief period in the early 1920s during which Metzinger abandoned the Cubist style. The expressionistic use of color seen in The Three Trees was a central aspect of his painting practice; it is also what distinguishes his work from that of his Cubist colleagues after 1909 when he began to work in that style

Subject matter
small country villa or village in an abstract landscape whose peripheral wall is lined with three trees

Physical Description
oil painting on canvas

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
landscape

Rights
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Keywords
Cubism
Landscapes
abstraction
buildings
modern and contemporary art
trees

& Author Notes

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