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Samuel Halpert (American, b. Russia, 1884-1930)

Trees, 1917

  • Oil on canvas
  • 32 x 25 1/2 in. (81.3 x 64.8 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Wesley Halpert with donor maintaining life estate, 1990-145

Not on view







  • What season do you think it is in this painting? What makes you say that?

  • If you were inside this scene, what do you think you would hear? What do you think you would see if you looked to the left or the right or behind you?

  • What mood has the artist created here? How has he created this mood?

  • Look at the colors. How do they add to the mood?

  • What kind of texture do you imagine these trees have?

  • What details has the artist put in the painting? What details has he left out?

  • Notice the reflection of the trees in the water. How does this contribute to the atmosphere of the scene?

  • What title would you give to this painting? Why?


After giving students ample opportunity to examine this painting, lead them in a discussion of related topics and themes:

  • Halpert did not actually paint this picture for Tu B'Shevat. If you were to paint a picture specifically for Tu B'Shevat, how might it be different?

  • Tu B'Shevat is considered "the birthday of the trees." Why do trees need a birthday? Why should we celebrate trees? What do they contribute to our lives?

  • There is no specific ritual for Tu B'Shevat. What do you think you could do to celebrate the holiday? What kinds of rituals or activities would be appropriate for this day?