(1898-1952), one of the greatest painters to emerge from the Cleveland School, was just achieving national acclaim before his early death at the age of 54. A graduate of East Tech and Western Reserve University, he studied with Henry Keller. Gaertner’s subject matter varied, but certain themes recur in his work, including industrial subjects, with Cleveland as his model in the early part of his career. Other work involved Provincetown, West Virginia watercolors and oils, and Chagrin Valley paintings. After 1935, Gaertner bought a farm in the Chagrin Valley and began his series of paintings of that subject.
The Akron Art Museum currently holds three paintings by Gaertner. Featured in the McDowell galleries is Riverside Plant, an oil on canvas painted in 1927-28 which was exhibited at the Cleveland Museum of Art Annual Exhibit of the Cleveland Artists and Craftsmen from April 25-June 3, 1928. Also in the Akron collection is Summer Kitchen, a gouache on fiberboard painting done in 1947 and The Commuter, an oil on fiberboard painting done in 1945 which shows a man standing on a train platform and is based on sketches Gaertner did while riding the train to New York City to visit his art dealer.
The Cleveland Museum of Art owns several of Gaertner’s works and currently displays an oil painting labeled “The Pie Wagon.” Painted in 1926, this work focuses attention on laborers at an industrial plant who spend their lunch break milling around a horse-drawn bakery wagon in the shadows of the hulking factories. For examples of his work, see https://www.google.com/search?q=carl+gaertner+artist&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwivs7uN6u7hAhXumq0KHWVgAdcQiR56BAgMEBM&biw=960&bih=467 and https://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&sxsrf=ACYBGNS-aScc6grIweWb8RGPfxkPFtPDIw%3A1578168620506&sa=1&ei=LPEQXqy7Hpq4tQbWoqK4BQ&q=carl+gaertner+artist&oq=carl+gaertner+artist&gs_l=img.3…180734.190340..191724…0.0..0.134.1041.13j1……0….1..gws-wiz-img…….35i39j0j0i7i30j0i67j0i8i7i30.XHC81hmEyB4&ved=0ahUKEwisgZWg4OrmAhUaXM0KHVaRCFcQ4dUDCAc&uact=5
The Pie Wagon, c. 1926. Carl Gaertner (American, 1898-1952). Oil on canvas; unframed: 105.8 x 153 cm (41 5/8 x 60 1/4 in.). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Carl Gaertner 1953.371