Station: [9] Andreas Achenbach | The Harbour at Emden on the Dollart, 1893

Foaming waves rock the approaching ships and boats in an alarming manner and surge relentlessly against the harbour walls.Tumult also prevails on the stone pier, where the Dutch flag flutters in the wind.However, not everyone is directly involved in and contributing to the security activities.A few people stand there with their legs spread wide and their hands on their hips, like the figure in the middle of the pier, who is dressed in a remarkable yellow.This pose seems to say:this too will pass and, indeed, the tempestuous sea is illuminated by a glaring ray of light – calm is approaching!

Andreas Achenbach has transferred the motif of the windswept ship into the realm of the harbour, as became fashionable from the mid-19thcentury.The struggle with nature on the high seas becomes a description of a milieu rich in figures and activity, a visual pleasure that may have suited the nostalgic gaze of the late 19th-century city dweller, who had become removed from nature. 

Born in Kassel in 1815, this artist is considered one of the most important representatives of the Düsseldorf school of painters, in fact, he was even known as “Lord over land and sea”.He gathered impressions while travelling to work in numerous places, leading him to Norway, Sweden, England and Italy and repeatedly to the Netherlands, as well.In his landscape painting, which already enjoyed great success during his own lifetime, Achenbach specialised in pictures of ships and the sea rocked by storms – and, at times, he found himself confronted with accusations of melodrama.

The artist’s brother was Oswald Achenbach, who was no less famous and had concentrated on the depiction of Italian landscapes.The two brothers are sometimes jokingly referred to as the “Alpha and Omega of landscape painting”.Andreas Achenbach died in 1910 at the age of 94 – recognised with numerous honorary memberships, awards and medals and highly esteemed by the public.