This beautifully rendered painting by Mondrian is a superb example of sophisticated integration. We see this in how he poetically harmonized the trees with the house. Let’s begin with the tree at the left and the subtle parallel of the lower branch with the roof line. The relationship provided is a form of integration and can also be considered harmony and structure as well. Now to the next tree and how it blends with the roof line. The third tree from the left also parallels the roof line, then connects to the chimney. The fourth tree follows the roof at the right and then continues up to form a triangle shape with the large tree leaning in from the right. This triangle form echoes the triangle shapes of the house, providing a beautiful rhythm, or triangle motif. We then continue with the rhytms of the earlier trees with the large branch going to the right in this large tree. The group of trees at the right form a large shape which provides a counter movement paralleling the right sides of the triangle shapes in the house. There are more waiting to be discovered.
I would like to mention the birds, which Mondrian used as a refinement to the composition. Note how they extend, or integrate with, the large shape of the trees, guiding you down to the left tree. And how two of the birds integrate with the large branch of the large tree at the right, and how that little bird at the right of the trees connects to the tree below. If the bird was further from the trees the connection would dissipate. The location of the bird would also integrate work elsewhere, the key is the distance between the chosen branch and the bird.
A master painter is very aware of the importance of every mark and how it relates to the composition.
I would like to take you to the water at the bottom right of the painting and why he choose not to show the reflection of the sky. The reason being it would compete with the focus of the painting by drawing us down to the bottom. This is an excellent example of composition before information!
It’s good to be aware that the movement towards abstraction came through figurative painters, as we see in Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Nicholson and many others in this period of great change in painting.