Carl Bretzke is a representational oil painter who specializes in urban scenes and plein air landscapes. His compelling nocturne, street, and scenic landscapes originate from his surrounding midwestern landscape where his paintings are often executed on location. The scenes themselves, although somewhat serene, are energized by Carl's use of color and strong focal points. Reflective surfaces and dark lighting resonate a sense of mystery, while the inclusion of cars, familiar edifices, and strong use of light and shadow create a sense of universality.

His work has been exhibited extensively in Minnesota and California. The Washington Post described Carl’s art as "simultaneously intimate and detached…The artist's unadorned style recalls Edward Hopper and The Ashcan school."

Carl holds an MD degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is a practicing radiologist. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Colorado, where he also received a minor in Fine Art. Carl trained under notable landscape painter Joseph Paquet, and holds the distinction in 2014 alone of winning First Place in the Plein Air Salon May/April competition, First Place in the Aspen Plein Air Salon competition, and First Place Plein Air Salon April/May Edition. In 2016, one of his plein air winter paintings (Winter Sunset Near Farmers Market - exhibited and sold here in the gallery) won the Grand Prize in the 2016 Plein Air Salon. Bretzke lives and works in Minneapolis, MN.


I think my work is best described as realism bordering on impressionism. The science of light as it pertains to my depiction of any subject is important to me. I want to get it right. Creating a realistic light effect, correct drawing and composition are skill sets I focus on in my paintings. My subject matter varies widely but always of my choosing. I feel an excited sense of urgency to paint when the right subject presents itself.