Famous Tree Paintings

Famous Tree Paintings – A Look at Famous Paintings With Trees

Nature is one of the first subjects of inspiration you may look towards as an artist. Trees are a great place to start for any artist and have been featured in many famous tree paintings in art history. Captured in many stunning forms, this article will introduce you to some of the most famous tree paintings that will have you in amazement at the wonderful ways in which artists have represented their favorite natural landscapes.



A Brief History of Forest Paintings in Art

Trees have long been the subject of interest for many well-known painters in art history, who have provided us with some of the most beautiful tree illustrations and forest paintings the world has ever seen. The role of tree paintings in art history have often been tied to explorations of folklore, fairy art, and landscape art that further unpack connotations of the forest and the representation of trees concerning loss of hope, enchantment, mother nature, retreat, and a fear of the unknown.

Artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Max Ernst, and Gustav Klimt are among the few who have built some of their works around concepts related to the forest.



Top 10 Most Famous Paintings With Trees

Below, we will explore the top 10 most famous paintings with trees created by some of the most famous tree painters, including Vincent van Gogh, Gustave Courbet, Egon Schiele, and Claude Monet.

Beautiful Tree ArtEvening; Red Tree (1908-1910) by Piet Mondrian; Piet Mondrian, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Forest in Autumn (1841) by Gustave Courbet

Artist Name Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet
Date 1841
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)38 x 54
Where It Is Housed Private collection

Forest in Autumn is one of Gustave Courbet’s masterful tree artworks that illustrate his exceptional mastery over Realist painting through the auburn sheen of the autumn leaves and the glistening light is seen hitting the sides of the tree bark in the forest. This tree artwork is one of the most famous tree paintings that also highlight Courbet’s ability to create strong contrasts between light and darkness, which also bring a sense of balance to the aesthetic of a forest and illuminate the serenity that can be found in the company of the forest.

Famous Paintings with TreesForest in Autumn (1841) by Gustave Courbet; Gustave Courbet, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Heart of the Andes (1859) by Frederic Edwin Church

Artist Name Frederic Edwin Church (1826 – 1900)
Date 1859
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)168 x 302.9
Where It Is Housed Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, United States

This highly detailed tree artwork illustrates the lush vegetation of the South Americas captured by famous American artist Frederic Church. Church was one of the leading artists at the Hudson River School and was an expert in American landscape painting, often choosing to paint mountainous areas with beautiful sunsets and waterfalls. Heart of the Andes contains many elements found in Church’s preliminary sketches of his travels to Ecuador, which took place over a period of nine weeks.

The tree in the bottom left corner with an engraving on it, as well as the two figures at what appears to be a grave site, just goes to show the meticulous attention that Church paid to his artworks.

Famous Tree PainterHeart of the Andes (1859) by Frederic Edwin Church; Frederic Edwin Church, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


La Grenouillère (1869) by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Artist Name Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919)
Date 1869
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)66 x 81
Where It Is Housed National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden

Pierre-Auguste Renoir was one of the leading members of the Impressionist group of the 19th century who was celebrated for his realistic approach to painting, which also evoked a sense of nostalgia and beauty within his landscapes. Renoir’s work on La Grenouillére was completed in 1869 and was informed by his love for socializing among the popular social gathering sites situated near some of Paris’ most famous forests, including the Seine River.

Tree ArtLa Grenouillère (1869) by Pierre-Auguste RenoirPierre-Auguste Renoir, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Giant Redwood Trees of California (1874) by Albert Bierstadt

Artist Name Albert Bierstadt (1830 – 1902)
Date 1874
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)65.5 x 54.5
Where It Is Housed Private collection

This curious tree painting reminds one of a forest fairy adventure with the towering trees of the forest and the warm golden light that peaks through it. Albert Bierstadt was a German-American painter who specialized in subjects of the American Western landscape. Most of his career involved traveling across North America and capturing the magnificent natural landscapes that evoke a sense of Romanticism and highlight the influences of the Hudson River School.

Tree Art ExamplesGiant Redwood Trees of California (1874) by Albert Bierstadt; Albert Bierstadt, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


The Artist’s Family In The Garden (1875) by Claude Monet

Artist Name Claude Monet
Date 1875
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)Unavailable
Where It Is Housed Unavailable

The Artist’s Family in the Garden is one of the most famous Impressionist tree paintings by famous tree painter, Claude Monet, which portrays three figures, two of which are most likely his wife, Camille, and his son. The trees that surround his family in the background appear as protection and thus evoke a sense of comfort as the viewer experiences a sense of familiarity with Monet’s feeling of contentment and appreciation for the scene, so much so that he had to capture it.

Monet did not solely create tree art but some of his most famous artworks do depict the natural landscape, often occupied by luscious greenery.


The Tree of Forgiveness (1882) by Edward Burne-Jones

Artist Name Edward Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898)
Date 1881
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)196 x 106.8
Where It Is Housed Lady Lever Art Gallery, London, England

The Tree of Forgiveness by Edward Burne-Jones is one of the most famous paintings with a tree that revolves around the legend of Phyllis and Demophoön, which promotes themes of love informed by biblical and mythical narratives. The style of the painting was inspired by Michelangelo with the main subject being the almond tree from which Phyllis emerges. According to the myth, Phyllis fell in love with Theseus, but Theseus had to return to Attica and his long return back to Phyllis resulted in Phyllis committing suicide.

Famous Tree Painter ExamplesThe Tree of Forgiveness (1882) by Edward Burne-Jones; Edward Burne-Jones, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Gods pitied Phyllis and transformed her into the almond tree we see in the painting. Upon Theseus’ return, he would then feel remorse and embrace the tree, which enabled Phyllis to re-emerge from the tree. Their romantic bond and deep passion for each other moved the tree to blossom and act as a symbol of their everlasting relationship.

It is said that the painting is also reflective of Burne-Jones’ affair with British art model Maria Zambaco.


The Pink Peach Tree (1888) by Vincent van Gogh

Artist Name Vincent van Gogh
Date 1888
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)80.9 x 60.2
Where It Is Housed Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

This stunning tree painting by Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous arboreal post-Impressionist artworks that was created during Van Gogh’s visits to Arles. With more than 20 paintings featuring trees from the fruit orchards, Van Gogh was captivated by the beauty of the peach tree that stands out against the soft pastel blue of the Arles sky. Van Gogh truly evokes a sense of delicateness about the blossoming peach tree with the softness with which he paints the blossoms, contrasted against the darkened outlines of the tree bark and branches. The tree, captured in its full blossom, is a reminder of the beauty of growth and the lifecycle of the fruit tree, which in its process, will bear delicious fruit. The Pink Peach Tree thus symbolizes a promise and ode to patience that one can meditate on.

Forest PaintingsThe Pink Peach Tree (1888) by Vincent van Gogh; Vincent van Gogh, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Trees (1913 – 1914) by Maurice de Vlaminck

Artist Name Maurice de Vlaminck
Date 1913 – 1914
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)73.2 x 92.8
Where It Is Housed Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, National Museum Cardiff, Wales

Another artist captivated by the banks of the Seine river; Maurice de Vlaminck was a famous French painter who is celebrated among contemporaries such as Henri Matisse. De Vlaminck was one of the leading figures in the Fauvist movement who created this gorgeous blue-green abstract painting of trees on the bank of the Seine. Trees is one of the artist’s most iconic forest paintings that not only evoke an uncanny sense of stillness but also captures the viewer’s eye through the use of a clever combination of cool-toned colors accompanied by a small insertion of vivid orange.

The short and long yet sharply-executed brushstrokes evoke a sense of urgency and fast-paced process that De Vlaminck used to execute the painting and give it its signature style.

The urgency of the brushstrokes in Trees alludes to the environmental climate of the scene and perhaps the wind, which may have swished and swayed the leaves on the trees. The water in the river also appears startled in the foreground, indicating a quiet disruption among the cool-toned calmness of the scene. The contrast of the vivid orange of the tree barks also makes this painting of trees engaging to look at.


Four Trees (1917) by Egon Schiele

Artist Name Egon Leo Adolf Ludwig Schiele (1890 – 1918)
Date 1917
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)110.5 x 141
Where It Is Housed Belvedere, Vienna, Austria

Four Trees is one of the most iconic tree artworks by Egon Schiele executed in 1917 portraying four trees in different conditions against a bright orange sun in an open, mountainous region. The trees in the painting are said to be symbolic of the benefits of remaining outside the norms of society and avoiding the trap of conservatism. Despite Schiele being an artist who specialized mainly in the exploration of the human form, his work on this tree painting is one that perhaps demonstrates the human condition through the varying conditions of each tree. The painting is celebrated as one of Schiele’s most famous paintings from the last few years of his life.

Famous Tree ArtFour Trees (1917) by Egon Schiele; Egon Schiele, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Two Trees (2017) by Peter Doig

Artist Name Peter Doig (1959 – Present)
Date 2017
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions (cm)240 × 355
Where It Is Housed Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, United States

Peter Doig is one of the most celebrated 21st-century figurative painters whose works also see some of the highest prices at auction for a living artist. Two Trees represents a landscape scene from Doig’s childhood home in Trinidad. Upon the artist’s description of the painting, it initially contained the two trees with the still ocean in the background. The significance of the painting for Doig goes back to the act of being complicit and involved in something “terrible” as seen in the body language of the figures.

Doig skillfully created tension between the three figures to highlight a sense of vulnerability, disillusionment, and a history of violence that impacts the community. These effects stem from the island’s history with colonial forces and the legacy of slavery in America and the Caribbean. These narratives co-exist with Doig’s personal narratives of his youth spent in Canada as an ice-hockey fan, which can be identified by the ice hockey apparel of the figure on the left. The figure in the middle with a crocheted cap was inspired by the work of Haitian artist, Hector Hippolyte while the last figure on the far right is seen recording the duo, thus playing the character of both the scribe and voyeur.


As you may have noticed in these famous paintings of trees above, trees can be represented in a variety of art styles and methods that shift the mood from not only instilling a sense of serenity in the viewer but also evoking symbolic themes of love, solitude, hope, and an uncanny stillness. The diverse use of color informed by Impressionist, Expressionist, and Romantic painters have truly demonstrated the ways that trees inspire artists and result in some of the most captivating artworks.




Frequently Asked Questions


What Do Trees Symbolize in Art?

In art, trees can often refer to mythological subjects that deal with themes of fertility, growth, new life, the cycle of life, transformation, prosperity, and wisdom. Trees can also symbolize rebirth and renewal.


Who Is the Most Famous Forest Painter?

The most famous forest painter is considered to be Claude Monet, who was a major Impressionist leader and who often enjoyed painting natural landscape scenes with trees. While he did not solely paint trees, Monet’s tree landscapes are considered particularly famous. Other artists who are famous for their tree paintings include Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Piero di Cosimo.


What Is the Most Expensive Tree Painting?

The most expensive tree painting is considered to be a painting by Paul Cézanne, which sold for $137.7 million in 2022 at Christie’s in New York. The painting is known as La Montagne Sainte-Victoire (1888 – 1890). The painting is closely followed by Vincent van Gogh’s Verger Avec Cyprès (1888), which sold for $117.1 million in 2022.