26.000 x 20.000 x 1.000 inches
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Oberbaumbrucke Berlin Germany 2009
Painting - Oils On Canvas
Serving as Berlin's river gateway, the very distinctive and stylized Oberbaumbrucke has a long and illustrious history. It was originally built in 1732 as a marker between the city of Berlin and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. As the city grew with the arrival of new settlers and traffic during the nineteenth century, the bridge served as an important gateway between the two districts of Friedrichshain (east) and Kreusberg.(west) In April of 1945, the German army blew up the middle section of the bridge in an attempt to stop the Red Army from crossing it from the east, but this could not prevent the fall of Berlin in absolute ruin. After the war, Berlin was divided into four sections, with the bridge serving to separate the US and Soviet sectors, but after 1961 when the Berlin Wall was built, to separate the eastern and western sections of the city, all traffic crossing the bridge was halted. During the cold war, the bridge stood as a symbol of defiance against the lunacy of war, and with the unification of the two sides of Berlin, the river Spree which runs wide and proud through this great city could once again host the many river craft, and abundant traffic which the bridge hosts every day. Since 1963, the Oberbaumbrucke was used as a pedestrian border crossing for West German residents only.
Walking across it to paint this canvas, reminded me of the trials of the Berliners, who have come through it all with flying colors and a sense of adventure.I had traveled to the eastern section of the bridge in order to paint from the ex Soviet side, but because the area on this side of the wall was heavily mined and then later cemented or grassed over, the only piece of turf left, was this piece from where I painted. Soon this too will be gone as preparations for building here has already started. The bridge was restored to its original glory with the unification of Germany in 1990, in honor of its architect Otto Stahn, who successfully managed to illustrate the magnificence of North German Gothic brick, which incorporated many interesting facets and near perfect workmanship.
July 30th, 2009
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