The Prince of Landscape Painting

The Fine Art & Antiques Auction features an important work by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek – the father of Dutch romantic landscape art

Barend Cornelis Koekkoek, Vinterlandskap

The Fine Art & Antiques Auction features an important work by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek – the father of Dutch romantic landscape art, and the most celebrated artist of his generation. During his lifetime he became known as the "Prince of Landscape Painting".

Barend Cornelis Koekkoek was born into a well-known family of artists in Middelburg in 1803. His father worked as a seascape painter and became his son's first teacher. At the age of 19, Koekkoek received a scholarship from King William I of the Netherlands, which allowed him to study at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in Amsterdam. A few years later, the Felix Meritis society awarded him a gold medal for a beautifully painted summer landscape.

In the 1830s, Koekkoek moved to the city of Kelve in the German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, close to the Dutch border. It was here that he found inspiration for his romantic landscapes: impressive river valleys, tall mountain formations and stretches of wild woodland. Under Koekkoek's leadership, Kleve became an important site for a new school of landscape artists. He started his own academy (Zeichen Collegium) in the city, and it soon attracted a new generation of artists. The key period in Koekkoek's oeuvre is considered to be the 1840s and 1850s. His landscapes from this period combine realism with an idealised depiction of nature. His sweeping panoramic views, refined compositions and exquisite details earned him international fame and fortune, with clients including the Kings of Prussia and the Netherlands and the Czar of Russia.

The painting presented at this auction – Winter Landscape – is dated 1856 and shows an enchanting river and city landscape in its winter finery. It is an excellent example of the artist's brilliant style. The motif is drawn from the areas around Kleve and Xanten. The light in the painting falls from the top left-hand corner, through the crown of the oak and down onto the figures by the city gate. It also picks out the country road and lights up the pure white snow on the fields. To the right of the painting, figures can be seen walking on the dark ice on the river, while the background features towering mountain formations in shimmering pink light.

Lot  2045
Holland 1803-1862
Winter landscape
Signed and dated. Oil on panel, 33,5 x 46 cm.

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