An abandoned barn and dead tree stand on a gently rising hill. Daylight shows through the dilapidated structure whose dry, peeling walls and precarious roof boards echo the dead tree, both on the verge of collapse. The profusion of colorful wildflowers in the foreground and dense band of trees on the horizon breathe life into this otherwise bleak view. The grey wood harmonizes beautifully with the clouds, whose eminent rain hastens the decay as it nourishes the landscape.
Masters was drafted into WWII shortly after graduating from high school. Having seen combat action in Italy, one wonders if the tree, whose trunk resembles the VE sign seen around the world at the end of the war, represents the horrors he witnessed. It’s worth noting Masters painted this tree on several occasions.
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