At the end of nineteenth-century, Mondrian was continuing to paint and develop a traditional Dutch style blended with elements of Impressionism and ideas of Vincent van Gogh, ignoring radical changes in art that were accruing around him.

After he had finished his official art course, Mondrian practiced drawing and water color from life, as these were the basis of all traditional art. Between autumn 1898 and summer 1899, Mondrian stayed with his parent in Winterswijk, recovering from pneumonia. He spent time in the surrounding area sketching, and often produced watercolors of his drawings. Even when Mondrian was working traditionally, his understanding of balance, harmony and decorative effects are apparent. Mondrian's landscape paintings of this time can often be compared to the work of other contemporary artists, such as Gustav Klimt. Wood with Beech Trees, 1899 is similar to Birch Forest by Klimt - and includes elements of Art Nouveau.