It was made in 1911 on a canvas when he was beginning experimenting with cubism. This painting was one of Mondrian’s first artistic work where he applies to natural subjects the principle of cubic composition. This was also a continuation of a series on the tree theme. The tree series began with the Red Tree in 1908. Although many years elapsed between the tree series images, it would be a mistake not to look at the two paintings as a single development.
For this painting, the foreground and the background intermingle with a palette that is somewhat restricted. The tree is slightly oval in shape, it follows the work of other painters such as Pablo Picasso. Mondrian’s work later followed a similar painting feature, Apple Tree in flower was a similar work of art in 1912 with a similar composition. The only difference is that the outline of Tree is more abstract and faceted.
The three dimensional tree in the painting has been reduced to planes and lines. This is made through a limited use of greys and blacks. This painting falls in a series of works where trees are naturally represented. Later paintings have the lines of trees reduced till it is a little invisible. These later paintings have become the secondary to the overall composition with the horizontal and vertical lines as their main representation.
For this painting too, there is still the illusion about the tree since it appears more natural. A keen observer will however note Mondrian’s interest in reducing the normal organization and structure of lines. The step was important in Mondrian’s development in maturing his abstract style of painting. Later paintings show that he radically simplified elements in his paintings to reflect what he saw. He created a universal, aesthetic and clear language with his canvases.