There is almost something threatening in the profusion of wind-tossed, silvery, shimmering branches in the foreground of this picture. Menzel discovered these willows not far from his flat in the Berlin in Schöneberger Straße near what was later to become the Landwehr Canal. Under a blue sky and bathed in harsh sunlight, beyond the timeless sight of horses drinking, as yet unfinished red and yellow brick houses with bricklayers working on the scaffolding herald the advance of the city into the countryside.


  • Title: Building Site with Willows
  • Creator: Adolph Menzel
  • Date Created: 1846
  • Physical Dimensions: w55.0 x h41.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: A I 900
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-815114
  • External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: © b p k - Photo Agency / Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist biography: After his father’s death in 1830, Menzel became the owner of a lithographic business in Berlin, where he lived and worked most of his live. As an artist, he lacked substantial artistic education, visiting the University of Arts in Berlin for only 6 months, and was mostly self-taught. In spite of this, he became the most renowned artist in 19th-century Germany. His most important works depict various historic events connected to the life of Frederick the Great, such as the Flute Concert of Frederick the Great at Sanssouci, or other events connected to Prussia.
  • Artist Place of Death: Berlin, Germany
  • Artist Place of Birth: Breslau, Poland
  • Artist Dates: 1815-12-08/1905-02-09

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