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Gustav Klimt's The Large Poplar (II) is also known as The Gathering Storm, and it is one of his geometrically contructed views. It makes an L-shaped (going backwards) composition. One arm is the land, going off to the left. The other is the poplar, going off at the top. As far as the picture is concerned, both are stretching on forever.
The storm is brewing. The light is going down over the autumnal ploughed field. The clouds in the sky are stirring turbulently, and two trees in the distance are feeling the winds that are getting up. In the midst of them, the monumental poplar stands. Klimt uses its verticality and its stiff close branches – its sides remain more or less parallel as it rises through the whole picture – to demonstrate its resisting strength as against the force of the storm.
Of course, when the bottom-landscape is attached back onto the top-abstract, this vertical form acquires a trunk and a grounding. It takes shape, and makes sense. It becomes a tree. But without that foundation, it lacks any clear identity.
And even when the picture is entire, the tree is not entirely itself. It is a two-fold, simultaneous entity. It's on the one hand, a tall poplar, and on the other, it's a blob. Or rather, at a certain stage, as you move up – it's not very easy to tell where – it stops looking like a tree, an object in space, and becomes a blank mass.