Carl Gaertner was one of the greatest painters to emerge from the Cleveland School. Born in Cleveland on April 18, 1898, he graduated from East Technical high school in 1918 and attended Western Reserve College. From 1920 to 1923 he studied at the Cleveland School of Art (now the Cleveland Institute of Art) with Henry Keller. In 1922, he entered his first May Show at the Cleveland Museum of Art and was awarded a prize for an industrial oil painting. From 1925 until 1952, he was known as a pillar of the Cleveland School and one of their most prestigious painting instructors.

Gaertner’s subject matter was always drawn from the world around him. Early in his career, he focused on Cleveland and its environs. This interest never left him, but as he matured, his choice of subjects broadened. He painted watercolors and oils of Bermuda in the mid 1920s and began making frequent trips to Provincetown beginning in the 1920’s. Like other Cleveland artists, he culled inspiration from travels within the United States, notably trips through Pittsburgh’s dramatic industrial landscapes and Cambridge Springs in Pennsylvania, to the mountains of West Virginia, and to Cape Cod. From the mid 1940s until his death, he also produced paintings based on sketches made during train rides to visit galleries in New York City.

At the time of his premature death in 1952, Carl Gaertner enjoyed a considerable reputation as a master of American Scene painting. By the 1940s, Gaertner was represented by the venerable Macbeth Gallery in New York City and his paintings were exhibited in shows throughout the United States. In 1944 and 1952, Gaertner received the National Academy of Design’s highest award for individual work in a group exhibition, and his work was exhibited in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s May Show for 27 years. Gaertner’s works are in the collections of many prestigious institutions, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Chicago Institute and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The reflective eye of Gaertner chronicled three decades of Cleveland and the landscapes of the Midwest and its people. It is all there: the growing might of industrial Cleveland; the mass-produced promise of the assembly line, giving way to a dawning awareness of lost freedom and the surrender of individuality; the love affair of Americans with nature and the ideals of Thoreau and Whitman and Frost; and the conflict between that love affair and industrial promise.

Gaertner was just achieving national acclaim at the time of his early death at the age of 54. A resurgence of enthusiasm for Gaertner and his works began in the 1970’s and has steadily increased and incrementally boosted the value of his work, with a fine rare example, “The Popcorn Man” reaching $250,000 at auction.

Works by Carl Frederick Gaertner

Harbor Fog

Harbor Fog, c. 1920 Carl Frederick Gaertner

St. George, Bermuda #1

St. George, Bermuda #1, 1924 Carl Frederick Gaertner

The Bay

The Bay, 1927 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Barn Buildings

Barn Buildings Carl Frederick Gaertner

Barn Landscape

Barn Landscape Carl Frederick Gaertner

Blue Barn

Blue Barn Carl Frederick Gaertner

Fresh Fish

Fresh Fish Carl Frederick Gaertner

Hog Slaughter, West Virginia

Hog Slaughter, West Virginia Carl Frederick Gaertner

Hog Slaughter, Winter Provisions

Hog Slaughter, Winter Provisions Carl Frederick Gaertner

Mill and Falls in Winter

Mill and Falls in Winter Carl Frederick Gaertner

Mill with Waterfall, Chagrin Falls

Mill with Waterfall, Chagrin Falls Carl Frederick Gaertner

Provincetown

Provincetown Carl Frederick Gaertner

Still Life with Vases and Glass Jug

Still Life with Vases and Glass Jug Carl Frederick Gaertner

Tremont

Tremont Carl Frederick Gaertner

Tremont Street

Tremont Street Carl Frederick Gaertner

Chartreuse House

Chartreuse House, c. 1930 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Coastal Scene

Coastal Scene Carl Frederick Gaertner

Harbor Scene

Harbor Scene Carl Frederick Gaertner

Still Life

Still Life, 1930 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Saturday at Chagrin Falls

Saturday at Chagrin Falls, 1931 Carl Frederick Gaertner

The Wharf

The Wharf, c. 1938 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Blue Stone Backyard

Blue Stone Backyard Carl Frederick Gaertner

Farm Landscape

Farm Landscape, 1940 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Farmyard with Red Barn

Farmyard with Red Barn Carl Frederick Gaertner

Gray House, Cape Cod

Gray House, Cape Cod Carl Frederick Gaertner

Moonlit Harbor

Moonlit Harbor Carl Frederick Gaertner

Red Barn on a Country Road

Red Barn on a Country Road Carl Frederick Gaertner

Road out of Town

Road out of Town Carl Frederick Gaertner

Shreve Ridge Cyclone

Shreve Ridge Cyclone Carl Frederick Gaertner

Flower Garden, Cape Cod

Flower Garden, Cape Cod Carl Frederick Gaertner

Hog Slaughter

Hog Slaughter, 1941 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Old House, Bermuda

Old House, Bermuda, 1941 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Willoughby Coal Yard

Willoughby Coal Yard, 1942 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Bermuda

Bermuda, 1946 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Cape Cod Dunes

Cape Cod Dunes, 1946 Carl Frederick Gaertner

The Fisherman

The Fisherman, 1946 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Pine Point Spur

Pine Point Spur, 1947 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Corn Hill Bay

Corn Hill Bay, 1948 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Clyde Cove, Moonlight

Clyde Cove, Moonlight, 1949 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Coastal Landscape

Coastal Landscape Carl Frederick Gaertner

Mining Town Study

Mining Town Study Carl Frederick Gaertner

Rock Creek

Rock Creek, 1950 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Cape Cod Moonlight

Cape Cod Moonlight, 1951 Carl Frederick Gaertner

The Outer Cove

The Outer Cove, 1951 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Leavings

Leavings, 1951 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Coast with Shack

Coast with Shack Carl Frederick Gaertner

Dunes

Dunes Carl Frederick Gaertner

Lake Erie with Trees

Lake Erie with Trees Carl Frederick Gaertner

Sailboat in Harbor

Sailboat in Harbor Carl Frederick Gaertner

Still Life With Sansevieria

Still Life With Sansevieria Carl Frederick Gaertner

Three Figures

Three Figures Carl Frederick Gaertner

Reclining Nude

Reclining Nude, 1932 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Garden Landscape

Garden Landscape, 1938 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Blue Mountain Gray Sky

Blue Mountain Gray Sky Carl Frederick Gaertner

Country Stream

Country Stream Carl Frederick Gaertner

Flats

Flats Carl Frederick Gaertner

Forest Scene

Forest Scene Carl Frederick Gaertner

Dune Shacks

Dune Shacks, 1941 Carl Frederick Gaertner

West Virginia Wash Day

West Virginia Wash Day Carl Frederick Gaertner

A Bermuda Home

A Bermuda Home, 1941 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Pair of Lithographs

SOLD

Pair of Lithographs Carl Frederick Gaertner

Still Life with Oranges in a Bowl and Two Jugs

SOLD

Still Life with Oranges in a Bowl and Two Jugs Carl Frederick Gaertner

Steel Mill at Night

SOLD

Steel Mill at Night, c. 1925 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Barn and Furrows

SOLD

Barn and Furrows, 1928 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Still Life with Yellow Vase and Japanese Painting

SOLD

Still Life with Yellow Vase and Japanese Painting, 1929 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Icy Pond and Shack at Night

SOLD

Icy Pond and Shack at Night Carl Frederick Gaertner

Morning

SOLD

Morning Carl Frederick Gaertner

The Actress

SOLD

The Actress Carl Frederick Gaertner

The Storm, Bermuda

SOLD

The Storm, Bermuda, 1930 Carl Frederick Gaertner

The Allegheny River

SOLD

The Allegheny River Carl Frederick Gaertner

St. Georges Bermuda

SOLD

St. Georges Bermuda, 1932 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Doan Brook, Cleveland

SOLD

Doan Brook, Cleveland Carl Frederick Gaertner

Mill Reflections

SOLD

Mill Reflections Carl Frederick Gaertner

New Snow

SOLD

New Snow Carl Frederick Gaertner

Rural Landscape

SOLD

Rural Landscape Carl Frederick Gaertner

Village with Trees

SOLD

Village with Trees Carl Frederick Gaertner

Ore Docks

SOLD

Ore Docks Carl Frederick Gaertner

Lumber Mill

SOLD

Lumber Mill, 1941 Carl Frederick Gaertner

30 Hours Leave

SOLD

30 Hours Leave, 1942 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Sand Pit Quarry

SOLD

Sand Pit Quarry, 1942 Carl Frederick Gaertner

The Watchman

SOLD

The Watchman, 1942 Carl Frederick Gaertner

The Green Sea

SOLD

The Green Sea, 1949 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Firewood

SOLD

Firewood, 1949 Carl Frederick Gaertner

Atwood's Cove

SOLD

Atwood's Cove, 1951 Carl Frederick Gaertner