German Romantic Neo-Classical architect. Alongside von Klenze, he was the most distinguished practitioner working in Munich in the first half of C19, and had a powerful influence on later generations. He trained under K. von Fischer in Munich (1808–12), Weinbrenner in Karlsruhe (1812–13), and Percier and Fontaine in Paris (1814), before making the obligatory tour of Italy (1814–17) followed by a visit to The Netherlands and England, where he was fascinated by industrial architecture and the problems of industrialization. He then settled in the Bavarian capital and taught at the Academy. He published his Ansichten der am meisten erhalten griechischen Monumente Siciliens (Views of the Best-preserved Greek Monuments in Sicily) in 1819. Not until after he had met the future King Ludwig I (reigned 1825–48) in 1827 was he commissioned to design buildings, starting with the Court and State Library (1827–43) and Ludwigskirche (1829–44) in the Ludwigstrasse, both in the Rundbogenstil derived from Florentine palazzi and Italian Early Christian and Romanesque architecture. Semicircular arched Florentine Renaissance was used for the Institute for the Blind (1835), the Women's Charitable Foundation (1835–9), and the Offices of the Salt Works (1838–43), all in the Ludwigstrasse. At the Salt Works building Gärtner employed exposed brickwork, suggested by buildings in Bologna which he had seen on his Italian tour. He also designed the Universitätsplatz, including the University (1835–40), Georgianum (1835–40), and Girls' School (1837). This rich urban scheme was further embellished by the Siegestor (Victory Gate—1843–54), a triumphal arch derived from the Arch of Constantine, Rome. For the other end of the Ludwigstrasse Gärtner designed the Feldherrnhalle (Commanders' Hall—1841–3), a copy of the Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence. This mix of Florentine medieval and Romanesque architecture with Classical elements was not accidental, but was a component of the King of Bavaria's policy to make Munich a cultural and national capital of European significance. Perhaps Gärtner's finest composition was the Pompeian House, Aschaffenburg (1842–6), based on the house of Castor and Pollux, Pompeii, which inventively alludes to Antiquity. He also designed the Villa Ludwigshöhe, near Edenkoben, Palatinate—an Italianate villa that has reminiscences of Palladio's Palazzo Chiericati, Vicenza—and the Kursaal, Bad Kissingen (1834).
When Prince Otto of Bavaria, (1815–67), Ludwig's second Ludwig's son, became King Othon of Greece (reigned 1833–62), Gärtner travelled to that country in order to design the new Royal Palace in Athens (1836–41), a Neo-Classical building with fine interiors, many in the Pompeian style. Gärtner also planned part of the new Athens that was to acquire so many distinguished Neo-Classical buildings by the Hansens and others.
Eggert (1963);Hederer (1976);Hitchcock (1977);Nerdinger (ed.) (1987);Watkin & Mellinghoff (1987)