[The Beech Tree]

Object Details

Title:

[The Beech Tree]

Artist/Maker(s):

Gustave Le Gray (French, 1820 - 1884)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Fontainebleau, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1855 - 1857

Medium:

Albumen silver print

Dimensions:

31.6 x 41.3 cm (12 7/16 x 16 1/4 in.)

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A beech tree in the Forest of Fontainebleau rears back as if to begin a bow to the photographer who would so majestically immortalize it. Of the many studies Gustave Le Gray made in Fontainebleau, a popular destination for artists and vacationing Parisians in the mid-nineteenth century, this photograph is the nearest to a portrait. With its gnarly roots exposed, the tree assumes center stage, a majestic and commanding force of nature whose trunk glows in the direct sunlight as if lit from within. Its leaves shimmer in the sun's glow, making the dense foliage appear weightless.

Exhibitions
The Flowering of Early French Photography, 1840-1870 (April 28 to June 28, 1987)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), April 28 to June 28, 1987
Gustave Le Gray (May 3 to August 28, 1988)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), May 3 to August 28, 1988
The Flowering of Early French Photography: Selections from the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection (December 20, 1988 to May 7, 1989)
  • The Baltimore Museum of Art, (Baltimore), December 20, 1988 to February 12, 1989
  • Toledo Museum of Art, (Toledo), March 11 to May 7, 1989
Pioneers of Landscape Photography: Carleton Watkins and Gustave Le Gray (September 1 to November 7, 1993)
  • Städtische Galerie im Städelsches Kunstinstitut, (Frankfurt), September 1 to November 7, 1993
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA, (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
Capturing Time: A Celebration of Photographs (December 1, 1997 to March 1, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 1, 1997 to March 1, 1998
Gustave Le Gray, Photographer (July 9 to September 29, 2002) (92)
  • Bibliothèque nationale de France, (Paris), March 18 to June 16, 2002
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 9 to September 29, 2002
Photographers of Genius (March 16 to July 25, 2004) (92)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16 to July 25, 2004
In Focus: The Landscape (August 26, 2008 to January 11, 2009) (92)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 26, 2008 to January 11, 2009
In Focus: The Tree (February 8 to July 3, 2011) (92)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 8 to July 3, 2011
Bibliography

Baldwin, Gordon. Gustave Le Gray, exh. brochure (Malibu: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988) fig. 1.

Goldin, Marco, ed. Turner e gli impressionisti: La grande storia del paesaggio moderno in Europa, exh. cat. (Brescia, Italy: Linea d'Ombra Libri, 2006) p. 246.

Related Media
  • /
    Audio: The Beech Tree, feat. Gordon Baldwin