Australia 1927 – Australia 1982
oil on composition board
102.0 (h) x 70.5 (w) cm
© estate of Fred Williams
Tree loppers is one of Williams’s most significant seminal paintings of trees – a subject that became the focus of much attention in his art in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Painted in England, it reveals Williams’s interest in paring away nonessential elements of a composition; an approach that would become characteristic of his mature style back in Australia. Although painted on a modest scale, Williams has conveyed an overriding impression of height. This is emphasised by the diminutive scale of a solitary figure high in the tree and the haystack far below him, as well as the very low horizon line. There is strength and beauty in the Spartan survival of the trees, despite the odds.