Since the early nineteenth century, public reading rooms had been important meeting places for conversation and the spread of enlightened thinking. In its content, The Reading Room follows on after other works by Hasenclever: The Politicians (1833–34), The Newspaper Readers (1835) and The Politician (1839). In all of these an important role is played by the press as a means of forming public opinion. In Germany in 1842, censorship grew and 1843 saw the banning in Düsseldorf of the newspaper Die Rheinische Zeitung, which had been edited by a friend of Hasenclever’s, the poet Ferdinand Freiligrath.


  • Title: The Reading Room
  • Creator: Johann Peter Hasenclever
  • Date Created: 1843
  • Physical Dimensions: w100.0 x h71.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: W.S. 71
  • 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 / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Andres Kilger
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist biography: Johann Peter Hasenclever was one of the most important German painters of the 19th century. He received his formal artistic training at the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf and was taught in drawing by Theodor Hildebrant. His master was heavily influenced by the Dutch painting of the 17th century that took every-day scenes as its subject. This informed Hasenclever’s style permanently. He was a famous painter for his masterful and mature compositions which sensitively depicted bourgeoisie life in the Biedermeier era. Hasenclever was active in the political movement of the pre-March or Vormärz era that culminated in the abortive revolution of 1848 and was an exponent of socially driven art. He was a member of the Düsseldorf school of painting and is considered the pioneer of the kind of genre painting later taken up by Carl Spitzweg and Wilhelm Busch. 'The Reading Cabinet' (1843) is one of his best known artworks.
  • Artist Place of Death: Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Artist Place of Birth: Remscheid, Germany
  • Artist Dates: 1810-05-18/1853-12-16

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