Small Tree in Late Autumn, a painting by the renowned artist Egon Schiele, is one of his best known works. In 1911, he produced this oil painting which is currently on display at the Leopold Museum in Vienna. The work has sensational dimensions of w335 x h420 cm and takes up most of the wall space that it occupies. Upon closer inspection one can truly appreciate Schiele’s skillful blend of colours, incorporating oranges, reds and yellows to convey the changing season from Summer to Autumn with uncanny precision.
The title itself aptly describes the focus of this painting. A small tree stands alone in the middle of an enchanting landscape – its leaves having lost most of their green and now showing signs of an illustrious yellow hue, indicating an imminent Autumn chill. Beyond that lies a rich background – trees descending into shadowed crevices and houses rising above lower risings in calm silence – adding to the already atmospheric beauty of this piece.
Despite being set in a peaceful environment, Schiele evidently highlighted tension between darkness and light to express a volatile emotion within Small Tree in Late Autumn – similar to what was depicted in his other iconic artwork Agony (1912). Both works showcase masterful yet subtle use of light contrast which lends them immense visual power; Schiele manages to capture an underlying turbulence that lurks beneath edges while displaying extreme quality within each stroke of colour.