bread and coal, Brot Und Kohle by Fritz Gartner
Painting Size .. 550mm x 400mm
Overall size including the original un restored frame .. 670mm x 560mm
The nineteenth century saw the rapid industrialization of many parts of Germany, including the Ruhr region in the western part of the country around Düsseldorf, Cologne, Dortmund, and Essen, with the construction of massive factories, mines, and railway networks. Fritz Gärtner’s painting captures the impression of one of these industrial complexes on a winter morning as sublime, a striking representation of the new economy versus old, with tall chimneys belching smoke hundreds of feet into the sky and the radiant glow of the steel-manufacturing processes colouring the horizon like a pseudo sunrise.
The sublime qualities of Gärtner’s work draw on the Romantic tradition in early nineteenth-century German painting, which exalted the overwhelming natural landscape dwarfing the human figure. Yet in this painting the artist shows the ways in which human activity has supplanted nature as the generator of raw energy and power, suggesting the existence of a spiritual element of industrialisation along with its purely mechanical aspects.
Fritz Gartners work is held in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig and The National Gallery Prague.
Fritz Gärtner, full name: Friedrich Anton Gärtner, was born in Aussig - Bohemia, the son of head teacher Julius Gärtner. He was a painter, engraver and sculptor.
His initial training was with the painter Josef Reiner in Aussig. In 1900 he joined Gabriel von Hackl's nature class at the Munich Art Academy, it was here he received additional training as a student of Ludwig von Löfftz, Carl von Marr, Alexander Wagner and Peter Halm.
At the beginning of the 20th century, around the time this work was painted, Fritz Gärtner lived for several years in the Rhineland-Westphalian industrial area, in the house of the banker Hans Jordan, in whose garden house he set up his studio.
Gärtner later worked mainly in Munich, where he died in 1958.
The painting is in good condition and is housed in its original frame, though the frame is a little distressed.