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Eduard Gaertner, The Friedrichsgracht, Berlin

Key facts
Full title The Friedrichsgracht, Berlin
Artist Eduard Gaertner
Artist dates 1801 - 1877
Date made probably 1830s
Medium and support Oil on paper laid down on millboard
Dimensions 25.5 × 44.6 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1989
Inventory number NG6524
Location Room 45
Collection Main Collection
The Friedrichsgracht, Berlin
Eduard Gaertner

The Friedrichsgracht was a canal that ran though the centre of Berlin. While it still survives in present-day Berlin, much of the area has been rebuilt since the Second World War. This striking composition, dominated by the geometrical precision of the zinc roof in the foreground, is typical of Gaertner’s work. The building in the foreground was the property of a prominent art collector in Berlin, Pierre Louis Ravené, who may have commissioned him to paint this view. Gaertner’s style is naturalistic and precise, his scenes resembling snapshots of the everyday life of the city but also reflecting a preoccupation with atmosphere and light that has led to him being called ‘the Prussian Canaletto’.

Gaertner painted several views of the buildings of Berlin, such as this one. In 1834, he began his most famous work: a six-panel panorama of Berlin purchased by the King of Prussia.

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