20. Anonymous French, 19th century

Study of a Tree

This oil on paper study functions as a ‘portrait’ of an individual tree. While the trees in the background are roughly indicated with single brushstrokes in thinned-downed oils, the main protagonist is rendered with painstaking brushwork and great naturalism, with particular attention being paid to its bark and moss-covered trunk. Despite the level of detail, it has not yet been possible to identify the painting’s author. The inscribed location Pierrefonds, scratched into the still-wet paint at lower left, is evidence that the work was painted out-of-doors.