Incorrect Username, Email, or Password
This object does not yet have a description.

Gallery Text

A pear tree in full bloom dominates this early landscape by Klimt, the leading proponent of modernist painting in Vienna at the turn of the last century, when the city’s artists and designers rejected the conservative attitudes of the academy and endeavored to create a new art free from historical influence. While a horizontal format is traditionally used for landscapes, Klimt chose a square canvas — a pure geometric shape that was also the Vienna Secession’s dominant decorative motif. In the flowering branches, each dab of paint indicates a single leaf, blossom, or piece of fruit. The flat, flickering field of color evokes both postimpressionist painting and Byzantine mosaics. The left side of the work has a noticeably denser application of paint than the center or the right side. Klimt continued to add to the painting, filling in these bare spots, even after giving it to Emilie Flöge, his muse and mistress, in 1903.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Gustav Klimt, Austrian (Vienna, Austria 1862 - 1918 Vienna, Austria)
Pear Tree
Other Titles
Original Language Title: Birnbaum
Work Type
1903 (reworked by the artist 1903/1918)
Persistent Link


Level 1, Room 1440, Modern and Contemporary Art, Secessionism: Munich, Vienna, Berlin
View this object's location on our interactive map

Physical Descriptions

Oil and casein on canvas
101 x 101 cm (39 3/4 x 39 3/4 in.)
framed: 105.5 x 105.5 x 10.5 cm (41 9/16 x 41 9/16 x 4 1/8 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Gift of the artist to Emilie Flöge, Vienna, Austria. [Neue Galerie, Vienna, Austria (by 1933); Galerie St. Etienne, Paris, France (by 1939); Galerie St. Etienne, New York (by 1950)]; Otto Kallir, gift; to Fogg Museum (1956-1966)

Note: Otto Kallir owned the Neue Galerie, Vienna, and the Galerie St. Etienne, Paris and New York.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Gift of Otto Kallir
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.

Publication History

  • IX Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della citta' di Venezia, exh. cat., Officine Grafiche C. Ferrari (Venice, 1910), p. 60
  • Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, 1965), p. 36, cat. no. 6, repr.
  • Richard Bellamy, Focus on Light, exh. cat., New Jersey State Museum (Trenton, 1967), cat. no. 43, repr.
  • Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 40, repr.
  • Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 369, p. 309, repr.
  • Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 96, color plate; pp. 115, 276, repr. b/w cat. no. 463
  • Peter Nisbet and Emilie Norris, Busch-Reisinger Museum: History and Holdings, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1991), p. 76, ill.
  • Toni Stooss, ed., Gustav Klimt, exh. cat., Verlag Gerd Hatje (Stuttgart, Germany, 1992), p. 134-135, cat. no. G 32
  • James Cuno, Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Ivan Gaskell, and William W. Robinson, Harvard's Art Museums: 100 Years of Collecting, ed. James Cuno, Harvard University Art Museums and Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (Cambridge, MA, 1996), pp. 334-335, repr. color
  • Masterpieces of world art : Fogg Art Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1997
  • Jane Kallir, Saved from Europe, Galerie St. Etienne (New York, NY, 1999), p. 24, plate 14
  • Stephan Koja, ed., Gustav Klimt: Landscapes, exh. cat., Prestel Verlag (Munich, Germany, 2002), plate no. 25
  • Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 187
  • Stephan Wolohojian and Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, ed. Stephan Wolohojian, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, 2008), p. 188, ill.
  • Greg Stone, Artful Business: 50 Lessons from Creative Geniuses (Boston, 2016), p. 32, ill. (color)
  • Aurélie Petiot, Le Préraphaélisme, Citadelles & Mazenod (Paris, 2019), repr. on pp.100-101
  • Alfred Weidinger, Gustav Klimt: L'Oeuvre Peint, Citadelles & Mazenod (Paris, 2021), pp. 276-277, cat. no. 163, repr. p. 276

Exhibition History

  • Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 02/05/1965 - 04/25/1965
  • Focus on Light, New Jersey State Museum, 05/20/1967 - 09/10/1967
  • Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/15/1980 - 09/01/1980; Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980
  • Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus dem Busch-Reisinger Museum, Stadtische Galerie im Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, 10/23/1982 - 01/16/1983; Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 30, 02/10/1983 - 04/17/1983; Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, 05/08/1983 - 06/26/1983
  • Gustav Klimt 1862-1918: Modernism in the Making, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 06/15/2001 - 09/16/2001
  • Gustav Klimt: Landscapes, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, 06/07/2002 - 09/02/2002
  • “As though my body were naught but ciphers”: Crises of Representation in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna, Harvard University Art Museums, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 02/12/2005 - 06/12/2005
  • Re-View: S118 European & American Art since 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/13/2008 - 04/09/2011
  • Re-View: European and American Art Since 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/03/2011 - 06/01/2013
  • 32Q: 1440 Secessionism: Munich, Vienna, Berlin (Expressionism), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/24/2024; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/09/2024 - 01/01/2050
  • Gustav Klimt: Landscapes, Neue Galerie New York, New York, 02/16/2024 - 05/05/2024

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project
  • Collection Highlights

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at