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Dunkle AnsichtHelle Ansicht
Painting and Graphic Art

View of the old French railway station in Basle

Key data


Signed G.L. Oil on canvas

56 x 75 cm

Inv. 1934.504.


The French railway line, having advanced as far as Saint-Louis by 1839, began its service to Basle on 15 June 1844. Five trains ran daily between Strasbourg or Colmar and Basle. The view illustrates the fascination the epoch making innovation exerted on contemporaries, one of whom reported: "The citizens of Basle and its surroundings frequently take advantage of the railway, especially on Sundays, and are finding much pleasure in it". The view from the city wall towards the north west shows two trains, the covered platforms, and the station building of the Elsässerbahnhof, the completion of which in 1846/47 provided the occasion for the painting. As elsewhere, the decision to take the track inside the city walls had been preceded by heated debate in the city parliament, its supporters proclaiming the economic benefits and its opponents the danger of a decline in morals.

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