Trees are one of nature’s most iconic symbols for things such as longevity, peace, solitude and a range of other ideas.
With so many different types of trees and their various blooms, as well as the different hues they transform to in autumn provides artists with seemingly endless subject matter as it relates to trees.
Many artists have focused their efforts on painting trees throughout their careers, but we’ve selected 10 of the most famous tree paintings to examine in this article.
Famous Tree Paintings
1. Almond Blossoms – Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh is renowned for his many series of paintings that focused on nature. Recognized as one of the most notable Post Impressionist artists in history, van Gogh spent the last few years of his life creating works that centered around trees in bloom.
Art historians and scholars note that he was heavily influenced by Japanese woodcut artwork in his final years and one of his most well-known series of paintings contained images of different blooming tree branches.
The famous series was titled Almond Blossoms and van Gogh likely produced the works as a way to honor the birth of his young nephew, who was named after the brilliant painter.
Van Gogh began working on the series in 1888 while he was living in a sanitarium in southern France for reasons pertaining to his ongoing mental health issues, which he had dealt with throughout his life.
Almond Blossoms was the title given to several paintings that were of the works that featured a simple almond branch in bloom that was set against a blue sky background.
2. Cairn in Snow – Caspar David Friedrich
Caspar David Friedrich is widely recognized as one of the most prolific artists of the Romantic era that took place during the latter 18th century and part of the early 19th century. Many of his works center around exploration of the Earth’s far reaches and beautiful, picturesque vistas from North America and other regions.
One of the famous Romantic painters most revered work is one that depicts trees standing bare in the cold of winter. The work is titled Cairn in the Snow and was created in 1807 and is one of the many different paintings done by Friedrich that focused on a subject of a cold and barren natural setting that overlooks a small cairn, or pile of stones that’s meant to serve as a marker.
The painting is notable because it’s actually one of Friedrich’s first works when he was very young and is also representative of both Christian and pagan symbolism.
Many critics believe the painting represents the idea of the three barren trees representing the three crosses that stood on Calvary during the execution of Jesus Christ, the cairn below representing his empty tomb.
3. Avenue of Schloss Kammer Park – Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt is one of the most highly-regarded painters from the Art Nouveau movement that took place during the late 19th century.
Klimt focused on the female form for the vast majority of his paintings, but he was incredibly talented in creating artworks that depicted nature and other subject matter.
While many of his paintings were criticized as bordering on lewdness, Klimt’s works that focused on nature have been largely overlooked since his career.
Also Read: Famous Park Paintings
One of his most famous paintings is a depiction of a row of trees leading into a park located in his native Austria. TItled Avenue of Schloss Kammer Park, the work is one of intense perspective and depth, as well as deep colors of blue and green.
Klimt created the painting in 1912 after spending a great deal of time in a summer cabin near Salzkammergut, Austria. This work is a portrayal of a cobblestone road that’s lined by mature trees that stretch overhead to form a vast canopy.
4. The Hay Wain – John Constable
John Constable is regarded as one of the most gifted nature artists from the 19th century. Born in England in 1776, Constable would go on to become one of the most celebrated Romanticism painters of this era. Many of his paintings involved trees and sweeping landscapes of England and other parts of Europe.
One of Constable’s most well-known works is titled The Hay Wain and was completed in 1821. The unique painting depicts a scene of a farmer driving a horse-drawn wagon across the River Stour, which is located in the farming communities between counties Suffolk and Essex.
Constable painted the large trees growing alongside the river in a way that captured the quiet life of English farmers in an authentic and genuine manner.
5. Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun – Vincent van Gogh
Van Gogh produced a number of paintings toward the latter years of his life that focused mostly on nature and plant life. The reason for this is because the celebrated artist spent as much time as he could sitting outside and enjoying the natural beauty of the gardens near the sanitarium where he was being treated for mental illness.
One of the most highly-praised paintings from this time in van Gogh’s life is titled Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun.
The work was completed in 1889 and features the characteristic method van Gogh used to produce distinct images portraying nature’s beauty, yet his painting style is very much full of Impressionism and abstract traits.
6. La Grenouillère – Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Few artists of the Impressionist era made more of a lasting impact than Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Known for his incredible ability to produce works that were distinctly realistic and that highlighted the sensual beauty of his subjects, Renoir was one of the most gifted French artists from the 19th century.
One of his most famous paintings is known as La Grenouillère and was done in 1869. Renoir was a regular among the Parisian socialites and he would gather with many other young artists and aristocratic youths in some of the popular spaces that were either near the Seine River or some of the various forests near Paris.
This painting depicts one such gathering in a classic Impressionist manner, which portrays the famous camembert locations.
7. Forest in Autumn – Gustave Courbet
Realism painters during the 1800’s were found in abundance throughout sections of Europe and Gustave Courbet was regarded as one of the greatest talents among his colleagues.
He was known for having a unique method of painting scenes and subjects with intense detail and stark contrasts between light and dark.
One of Courbet’s most famous tree paintings is one that captured the vibrancy of the European forest in the autumn season.
Also Read: Forest Paintings
The work is titled Forest in Autumn and was finished in 1841 during the early years of Courbet’s career as a painter. This work features a strikingly beautiful and serene forest that is full of towering trees and fiery colors in the canopy.
8. Giant Redwood Trees of California – Albert Bierstadt
Few artists can compare to the attention-to-detail and commitment to realism of Albert Bierstadt.
Known as one of the most prolific artists that came from the Hudson River School, Bierstadt spent most of his career traveling to the far reaches of the North American continent and capturing some of its most breathtaking scenery.
One of this painter’s most well-known works pertaining to trees was known as Giant Redwood Trees of California.
Completed in 1874, this work was one that attempted and succeeded in capturing the majestic nature of the redwood trees of California, as well as the intense charm of the forests of the western coastal region of the United States.
9. The Artists Family In The Garden – Claude Monet
The Impressionist painters of the latter 19th century that focused their efforts on forests and trees were very likely influenced by Claude Monet. Known as one of the most prolific Impressionist artists of his lifetime, Monet created a number of works that depicted the delicacy and immense power of nature.
One of Monet’s most highly-praised works is titled The Artists Family In The Garden. This work was completed in 1875 and features the vibrant colors of spring in a garden near a large forest.
Painted in a classic Impressionism fashion, Monet’s signature method of using light and shadows to enhance certain colors and other aspects of the painting are on full display in this masterpiece.
10. Four Trees – Egon Schiele
Very few Expressionism artists painted scenes from forests or wooded areas as many focused their efforts on creating works that centered around the human form, architecture and many other settings.
Egon Schiele created a number of works that were intensely focused on the human form, but one of his most famous paintings was a portrayal of trees standing alone on a grassy hillside.
Completed in 1917, the work was simply tired Four Trees and is remembered as one of Schiele’s most celebrated paintings from his final years.
The painting has intense realistic detail and infuses classic Expressionism properties and characteristics pertaining to light and color.