[Two Green Trees]

A landscape painted from a viewpoint above and to the right of the scene, overlooking red rooftop of a white building. Water and hills in the distance. Centre, two tall trees. Lower edge right, pale horizontal element perhaps a narrow path.

Other title(s)
Green Tree and Bay
c. 1931 1932
Object type
Medium and materials
oil on canvas
Place Made
Credit Line
Condition Report

Canvas surface uneven and varnished

Current Collection

Private Collection

Current Location

New Zealand

General notes

Alternative title, Green Tree and Bay, taken from the exhibition Flora Scales at The Suter Te Aratoi o Whakatū, Nelson, 2018.

An early appearance of the foreground element, that could be a path, that became a distinctive motif in her work of the 1930s, for instance, Mediterranean Village [BC019], Untitled [Basilica and Lighthouse, St Tropez] [BC020] and Basilica and Lighthouse, St Tropez, Southern France [BC021], and later in the 1960s such as Bry-sur-Marne Looking Towards the Marne Valley [BC045] and Le Bleymard, Lozère, France [BC078].

Possibly painted in 1931 or early 1932, under the tuition of E. D. Kinzinger, before Scales left to briefly visit New Zealand. From October, during the winter of 1932-1933, Scales was in Munich, Germany, at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art.

Scales described the delight of travelling south to St Tropez by train in the 1930s to Linda Gill, 27.08.1976, “... through the most wonderful landscape – the houses are pink and they rise straight out of the grapevines which are sometimes quite yellow.”

A few years earlier the English painter Vanessa Bell had also described the dramatic contrast between Northern Europe and the South of France, and the joy of living and working in the "Midi", in a letter to her sister, Virginia Woolf, 05.02.1927: “Painting is a different thing here from what it can be in the winter in England. It’s never dark even when the sky is grey. The light...is perfect and even now one could often work out of doors, if one wanted to. It makes such a difference to be sure one won’t be suddenly held up in the middle of something by fog or darkness. Also the beauty is a constant delight. The people are very friendly and helpful and living is very cheap...it seems more and more ridiculous for painters to spend half their lives in the dark.” (excerpt from Spalding, Frances, Vanessa Bell: Portrait of the Bloomsbury Artist, Tauris Parke Paperbacks, London, England, 2016, pg 216)

While in St Tropez, France, Scales met artists Frances Hodgkins and Gwen Knight. As reported by The Evening Post, 25 January, 1932, ‘Valuable Pictures’, “Maude Burge and Flora Scales were staying last summer [1931] at St Tropez in the South of France with Frances Hodgkins and Gwen Knight of Wellington and all were attending a summer school there.”

Excerpt from An accompanied solitude, an essay by Boris Kalachnikoff, January 1991: “[Flora Scales] had an artist friend, Miss Knight, with whom she had warm and sincere conversations and exchanged paintings in a friendly way, in the sunny countryside of St Tropez.”

Excerpt from Letters of Frances Hodgkins, ed. Linda Gill, Auckland University Press, New Zealand, 1993, pp 441-442, letter 438 to Dorothy Selby from the Hotel Sube in St Tropez, 25 June, 1931, from St Tropez, France: “There is a Professor from Munich here who is making them stretch their brains. He is very able – and a good lecturer – young and nice looking with a charming pyjama-ed American wife…His principles are sound – even if one dislikes his sort of art.” Gill’s footnote no. 39 for this letter states that the Professor was Edmund Daniel Kinzinger.

These reports suggest that Scales knew, and possibly received instruction from, Kinzinger in St Tropez before arriving at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art, Munich, Germany, in October 1932.

Apparently it was Gwen Knight who advised Scales to travel to Munich for a longer and more concentrated period of tuition at the Hans Hofmann School where she herself had spent six months, 3 October 1929 – 2 April 1930.