We find a number of trees within this simple landscape, with several different varieties featured. The painting itself was pretty small, and the dimensions suggest that it may well have been completed using a sketchbook, before later being removed and kept independently. The lack of a clear focus in this painting suggest that Delacroix may actually have been studying this series of trees rather than trying to create a presentable, sellable artwork. He would have been able to work quickly and freely outside with just a few materials when using watercolours and perhaps liked the ability to connect with nature in a way that would be particularly common in the 19th century with the rise of the French Impressionists. Romanticism, in which Delacroix played a leading role, played an important role in moving us towards the likes of Monet, Cassatt and Morisot, bringing a greater use of emotion and expression to the art world.
Watercolour is a medium which was particularly popular in the UK and France for a period of several centuries, with artists enjoying the ease of use of it, making it possible to work outdoors or whilst travelling. Most watercolourists would also use oils in other works, but there were some successful painters who specialised entirely in it. Delacroix produced a good number of watercolour paintings across his career but most of his more famous works were done using oils, including classic titles such as Liberty Leading the People, Death of Sardanapalus and Massacre at Chios, though there remains a niche interest in his work in this other form, which brought about different challenges and opportunities.
Visitors to see this item at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, USA will need to check first that it is out on display as The Edge of a Wood at Nohant is not considered one of Delacroix's most famous paintings. The collection of this museum was begun initially around the period of WWI as part of a private enterprise, with paintings and sculptures from the old masters being the main focus. Later on it would be determined that the public deserved to see these historical items and so the gallery was formed from that. Some of the great names to look out for here include the likes of Johannes Vermeer, Francisco Goya, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres and Henri Rousseau, with the collection covering most major western art movements up to around the start of the 20th century.