Painters and trees have a lot in common. Both are light-catchers: the painter looks at the world around him and tries to capture it, while a tree catches the light in order to grow. Trees are also part of the world that many artists see and often depict. So, there is quite a lot of synergy at the Togo Memorial Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Museum of Art's latest exhibition — "Trees in French Landscape Paintings, 1850 to 1920."

Given its scope, there are two ways in which to approach the exhibition. You can either treat it as a potted history of the great transitional period of European painting — from academic art to more avant-garde styles — or you can view it as something more essentialist, as a reflection on the nature of the tree as an artistic object. Both ways work.

Stylistically, the exhibition moves from the Barbizon school of painters (Camille Corot, Theodore Rousseau, Claude-Francois Daubigny) to impressionists (Frederic Cordey, Camille Pissaro), and then beyond, to pointillists (Maximilien Luce, Leo Gausson), symbolists (Paul Serusier, Odilon Redon, Maurice Denis) and fauvists (Orthon Friesz, Henri Matisse).