The Orchestra, Biergarten by Wilhelm Carl August Zimmer

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The Orchestra, Biergarten by Wilhelm Carl August Zimmer

Painting NameThe Orchestra Biergarten
Painter NameWilhelm Carl August Zimmer
Size133.7 x 90.2 cm (4' 4.64" x 35.51")
Current LocationPrivate collection


The Orchestra, Biergarten is about having an orchestra in a beer garden while people have some quality time under the shadows of –most likely- the chestnut trees. The orchestra is trying to give their best for the happy audience. Considerably large oil on canvas painting is holding up a good history behind its happy musical scene.

Biergarten is a German word from which Beer Garden is derived. People didn’t just brought their chairs and beers under trees and started drinking at their. Behind the custom of a beer-garden there is a long history lying.

The root of the custom is in 16th century when Albert V was ruling. He got the reports that the breweries were becoming a major reason for sudden fires in the town as the boiling process would heat the kettles to high levels by which sometimes breweries would set on fire.

To prevent it, he decreed that breweries can’t brew beer in summer days. This restriction caused brewers to make the summer’s beer-ration in other months and needed to store it under the nearby rivers. They would dig up cellars near rivers for the cool environment and grew chestnut tree on the top of those cellars.

Now, the setup for the Beer garden was ready and it was just about time that someone gets a spark of thought about serving beer right under those chestnut trees. King allowed for such beer gardens but restricted the food service to breads.

In protest, beer gardens allowed people to bring their own food. That was wise act. People loved the idea of drinking bear under trees while bringing their own food. Thus, eventually, the convention of beer gardens took off and is still very popular in most of the countries with most of the ethics of a beer garden still followed.

And then, cultivation never stops. The current painting shows an orchestra has shown up in the beer-garden and that just puts cherry on top. Homemade food plus beer plus trees plus music equals the perfect picnic.

An important aspect to consider in the scene is that it is from old times (probably late 19th century) when people didn’t had the privilege to carry their music in their pockets and were relied on orchestras and radio were a rare thing only found in palaces. So, this executed scene by oil on canvas is actually representing the contemporary people having a good time equivalent to our movie-theaters –maybe.


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