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Beech Tree

Eugène Atget1910 - 1915

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

In Eugène Atget's study of a dignified tree, shadows on the ground mirror the bare branches above. Atget created this symmetrical image when the sun was high, allowing a horizontal axis to center the composition. Although it is a simple subject, the image's nervous radial patterning of branch and shadow convey an unsettling dancing energy. The play of light and shadow was an infrequent subject for Atget, who masterfully exploited their properties in this photograph. Artists, to whom Atget marketed his work, would certainly have found this photograph to be a valuable source of imagery when executing drawings and paintings of landscapes.

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