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Artwork of the Week

Artwork of the Week: Boxelder Tree in Autumn

Boxelder Tree in Autumn
Florence Ware (1891-1972), 'Boxelder Tree in Autumn,' c.1970, oil on masonite, 15 7/8 x 19 7/8 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1978.

Florence Ware was an accomplished mural artist and Utah native. Born to artist parents, she obtained her B.F.A. at the University of Utah before studying at the Art Institute of Chicago. A painter, illustrator, costume designer, teacher, and interior designer, Ware was an enthusiastic creator across various media. Ware is best known for her Federal WPA murals and landscapes that explore principles of color, light, and nature. Her work consistently executes bold color choices that establish sophisticated formal relationships. While the large format murals demonstrate Ware’s ambitious capabilities and skillful compositions, Boxelder Tree in Autumn is a smaller-scale decorative painting that offers a more intimate experience.

Highlighted by the mountains in the background and cupped by green sagebrush, Ware captured the seasonal transition into fall in this Utah canyon scene. An array of energetic brushstrokes transforms the green and orange leaves into a fireball that swirls across the blues of the background. The layered brush marks also make the leaves of the tree and sage rustle, as if wind is moving through the space. A combination of the diagonal composition and slanted hash marks pulls the viewer to a point just behind the tree, where the blue lines of the mountain softly fade. The colorful display invokes a sense of curiosity, inviting the viewer to ponder what other marvels await just around the corner.

Credit: Curatorial Fellow, Anne Flynn

Past Artworks of the Week

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