Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

The Family of Mr. Westfal in the Conservatory

Artist:
Eduard Gaertner (German, Berlin 1801–1877 Zechlin)
Date:
1836
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
9 3/8 x 7 7/8 in. (23.8 x 20 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, funds from various donors, by exchange, 2007
Accession Number:
2007.70
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 807
This light-filled conservatory belonged to the prosperous Berlin wool merchant Christian Carl Westphal, a passionate horticulturist. The stark glass structure here serves as a Biedermeier day-room for his family. Gaertner was the preeminent painter of Berlin’s grand new boulevards, but this is one of only four interior scenes he is known to have painted; it may have been owned by Westfal, who was his landlord.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right, on planter): E. G. / 1836
probably Christian Carl Westfal, Berlin; Dr. Grieber, Munich (ca. 1930–86; sold to Fritz-Denneville); [Hildegard Fritz-Denneville Fine Arts Ltd., London, 1986–2007]
Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin. "Eduard Gaertner: 1801–1877," March 23–June 4, 2001, no. 220 (as "Die Familie des Kommerzienrats Westphal (?) im Treibhaus").

Milwaukee Art Museum. "Biedermeier: The Invention of Simplicity," September 16, 2006–January 1, 2007, no. XII-14 (as "The Family of the Kommerzienrat Westphal [?] in the Greenhouse") [withdrawn early from the exhibition].

Irmgard Wirth. "Neues von Eduard Gaertner." Kunst & Antiquitäten 5 (1985), p. 62, fig. 2 (color), calls it "Junge Frau im Gewächshaus" and suggests that it depicts Gaertner's wife and children [see Ref. Bartmann 2001].

Peter-Klaus Schuster in Unter den Linden: Berlins Boulevard in Ansichten von Schinkel, Gaertner und Menzel. Ed. Birgit Verwiebe. Exh. cat., Nationalgalerie Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Berlin, 1997, p. 38, colorpl. 19, as "Wintergarten".

Dominik Bartmann in Eduard Gaertner: 1801–1877. Ed. Dominik Bartmann. Exh. cat., Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin. Berlin, 2001, pp. 403–4, no. 220, ill. (color), notes that Westfal was Gaertner's landlord at Alexanderstrasse 22; identifies the sitters as Westfal's second wife, Emilie Eleonore Dorothee Schultze, and the couple's three children, Marie Dorothee Adelhaide, Emilie Margarethe Elisabeth, and Christian Gottlieb Oskar.

Helmut Börsch-Supan in Eduard Gaertner: 1801–1877. Ed. Dominik Bartmann. Exh. cat., Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin. Berlin, 2001, p. 23.

Knut Brehm in Eduard Gaertner: 1801–1877. Ed. Dominik Bartmann. Exh. cat., Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin. Berlin, 2001, p. 284, under no. 98.

Edit Trost in Eduard Gaertner: 1801–1877. Ed. Dominik Bartmann. Exh. cat., Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin. Berlin, 2001, pp. 421, 424–25, transcribes three entries from Gaertner's calendar of 1836, referencing this picture, January 2: "Treibhäuser / Dem Herrn Westphal," April 22: "Die Kleinen von Westphals in die / Treibhäuser gesetzt," and July 6: "Das Kleine Bïld für Hr Westphal".

Dominik Bartmann. "Nachlese zur Ausstellung 'Eduard Gaertner 1801–1877'." Jahrbuch Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, 2001 7 (2002), p. 344, ill. p. 341 (color).

Sabine Rewald in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2006–2007." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Fall 2007), p. 40, ill. (color), comments that Mr. Westfal probably commissioned this picture; notes that this is one of only four interior scenes by Gaertner.



Christian Carl Westfal was a prosperous Berlin wool merchant and Gaertner's landlord at Alexanderstrasse 22. The sitters in this picture are Westfal's second wife, Emilie Eleonore Dorothee Schultze, and the couple's three children, Marie Dorothee Adelhaide, Emilie Margarethe Elisabeth, and Christian Gottlieb Oskar [see Bartmann 2001]. This is one of only four interior scenes painted by the artist.
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