Gaertner is best known for chronicling the rapidly modernizing Berlin cityscape. This relatively intimate view, culminating in the city's oldest church, the Nikolaikirche, illustrates earlier modes of urban life with evident affection. Two other versions of the composition are known: one is in the Nationalgalerie, Berlin; the other was destroyed during the Second World War.
Inscription: Signed (lower left): E. Gaertner fec. 1831
private collection, Germany (until 1946; given to Kahn); Olga Kahn, California (1946–2005; sold December 2005 to Boerner); [C. G. Boerner, New York, 2005–6; sold to MMA]
Until the recent discovery of this picture, two other versions of the composition were known. The first, on wood, from the Märkische Museum, Berlin, was lost during World War II. The second, on canvas, is owned by the Nationalgalerie in Berlin.