1889 - 1969
View of St Paul’s Across the Thames

Watercolour and pencil, signed and dated 19 ’30’ bottom right
Image size: 21 x 14 1/2 inches (53 x 37 cm)
Contemporary frame


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This is a wonderfully lively watercolour scene of London. In the foreground we see the bustling docks with men hard at work. Behind this sits the Thames and in the distance the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral towering over the other building below on the riverside.

St Paul’s was a favourite subject for Hagedorn and was painted by him numerous times over his career.

Karl Hagedorn

Karl Hagedorn was a painter born in Berlin, Germany, who moved to England in 1905 and later adopting British nationality. He went to Manchester in 1905 to train in textile production and also studied art under Adolphe Valette at the local Manchester School of Art and then at The Slade School of Fine Art, followed by two years in Paris, in 1912-13, when, working under Maurice Denis, he absorbed a range of avant-garde styles.

On his return to England, he made a consciously pioneering attempt to introduce Modernism into Manchester through his work as both painter and designer. He became a British subject in 1914 and served as a Lance-Corporal in the Middlesex Regiment during World War I.

He exhibited at the Manchester Society of Modern Painters, RA, RBA, RSMA and with the NEAC. In 1925 he received the Grand Prix at the International Exhibition of Decorative Art, Paris and in 1935 he was elected RBA. He exhibited at a number of leading galleries in London and the provinces, and was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, the Royal Society of Marine Artists, the New English Art Club and the NS.

In 1995, the Chris Beetles Gallery hosted ‘Manchester’s First Modernist’, an important retrospective exhibition of the work of Karl Hagedorn organised in conjunction with the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester. It was accompanied by an illustrated biographical catalogue.

His work is in the collection of the Atkinson Art Gallery, BM, GAC, Manchester City Art Gallery V&A and the Wellcome Library.