BC014

Untitled

[Two Green Trees]

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 possibly a narrow path.

Other title(s)
Green Tree and Bay
Date
c. 1931 1932
Object type
painting
Medium and materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
311x392mm
Place Made
France
Details
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, New Zealand, 2018.

Possibly painted in 1931 or 1932 when E.D. Kinzinger was teaching in St Tropez, France, and before Scales left France to briefly visit New Zealand. Scales had arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand, by June 1932 and may have brought this painting on the voyage with her. By mid-October 1932 Scales was in Munich, Germany, at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art. Reports suggest that Scales knew of Kinzinger and may have heard of his teaching theories before arriving to study at the School in October 1932 where he was the Director. 

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

An early appearance of the foreground element, possibly a path, which 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].

Exhibitions
References

‘Becoming Modern: The paintings of Flora Scales’ by Jennifer Higgie, written for florascales.com, 2022

"In the gorgeous Untitled [Two Green Trees] [BC014] (c.1931-2), hard colours thaw in the bright sunlight. Subtle tonal shifts drift across the surface; shadows are formed of rich purples and greens, alleviated by flashes of ochre and yellow. Details – of the trees, the distant water, a glimpse of a terracotta roof – dissolve at the threshold of legibility. The painting is at once abstracted and deeply evocative of the heat haze of a summer’s day."