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Association of Oaks
© Estate of Graham Sutherland

Reference URL

Association of Oaks Dated 1939 - 1940

Not on display

Sutherland recalled that it was Guernica that revealed to him the expressive potential of what he called "paraphrase". By that he meant the suggestive abstraction of an object to extend its expressive potential. He took natural objects that he found in the countryside and paraphrased them so that they became anthropomorphic, suggesting parts of the body or figures which might be threatening, vulnerable or erotically charged. Such qualities, discernable in these human-like trees, were especially evident in the works made at the end of the 1930s and became associated with the air of anxiety at Europe’s descent into war.

Glossary Open

Abstract art

Art in which there is no attempt to represent anything existing in the world, particularly used of the 20th century onwards. ‘Abstraction’ refers to the process of making images that may in part derive from the visible world but which are reduced to basic formal elements.

Abstract art


  • Acc. No. GMA 2219
  • Medium Gouache, watercolour and pencil on paper
  • Size 68.60 x 48.60 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1980