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Eduard Gaertner

German, 1801 - 1877

Gaertner, Johann Philipp Eduard; Gartner, Eduard

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Born in Berlin in 1801, Eduard Gaertner served an apprenticeship as decorator at the Prussian porcelain manufacture (1814-1821), after which he was employed by Karl Gropius, a designer of stage scenery, while also enrolled at the Berlin Academy. A royal stipend in 1825 enabled him to go to Paris for further studies, perhaps with the landscape painter Jean-Victor Bertin (1767-1842) and possibly also with technicians in the new art of panorama painting. On his return to Berlin in 1827, he rapidly established himself as a painter of architectural subjects and urban scenes, much appreciated for the sharp precision and colorist refinement of his paintings. Elected to the academy in 1833, he won the steady patronage of King Frederick William III, for whom he painted, in 1835, the large six-part panorama of Berlin that is considered his masterwork. His reputation soon reached beyond Prussia and in 1837 brought him an invitation from Czar Nicholas I, for whom, during a two-year stay in Russia, he produced a panorama of Moscow seen from the Kremlin.

After 1840 the slackening of popular interest in topographical painting prompted Gaertner, now less heavily employed by the court, to adjust his work to the taste of a middle-class clientele. Practicing a looser, more painterly manner, he sought to enliven his architectural views with romantic suggestions of late afternoon or sunset and cultivated effects of atmospheric color, perhaps in an effort to counter the competition of photography. During the 1840s and 1850s he traveled constantly in search of motifs, extending his rambles from his base in Berlin to the provinces of West and East Prussia, to Bohemia, and to Austria. After 1860 the number and quality of his paintings declined. He died in Berlin in 1877. [This is the artist's biography published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]

Artist Bibliography

Schmidt, Paul Ferdinand. Biedermeier-Malerei. Munich, 1923: 47.
Becker, Wolfgang. Paris und die deutsche Malerei. Munich, 1971: 96.
La Peinture allemande à l'époque du Romantisme. Exh. cat. Orangerie des Tuileries, Paris, 1976: 76-79.
Wirth, Irmgard. Eduard Gaertner, der berliner Architekturmaler. Frankfurt, 1979.
Galassi, Peter. Before Photography. Exh. cat. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1981: 126.
Trost, Edith. Eduard Gaertner. Berlin, 1991.
Eitner, Lorenz. French Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part I: Before Impressionism. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 2000: 367.

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