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Barend Cornelis Koekkoek

1803 - 1862

Barend Cornelis Koekkoek is without doubt the most important landscape painter of the Dutch Romantic movement. During his lifetime he came to be known as 'Prince of landscape painting' and up to this day his role as leader of this genre remains unchallenged.

He was born in Middelburg in 1803. Initially he was taught by his father Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek (1778-1851) who was a talented marine artist and who headed the famous Koekkoek dynasty of artists.

B.C. Koekkoek attended the Middelburg Drawing Academy and also the Academy in Amsterdam between 1826 and 1827. It was here that his interest in the 17th century painters such as Hobbema and Wijnants developed.

Koekkoek moved to Kleve in 1834. The Rhine landscape matched his image of the perfect landscape and it was in Kleve that Koekkoek's style reached maturity. The artist had many wealthy patrons from the rich merchant classes in Holland and in 1839 King Willem III bought 'A View of a Forest with Cattle', a large painting that was rewarded with a gold medal at the Hague Salon held that same year. The Russian Tsar Alexander II was so impressed by this work that he commissioned an identical one from the artist, which illustrated how quickly Koekkoek gained an international reputation.

Between 1826 and 1862 B.C. Koekkoek was a regular exhibitor in The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam and he won medals at the Paris Salon in 1840 and 1845. He was elected to membership of the Amsterdam and St. Petersburg Academies and wa awarded the Netherlands Order of the Lion and the Belgian Order of Leopold.

Museums : Dordrechts Museum, Dortrecht, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Museum Haus Koekkoek, Kleve

Literature : F. Gorrisen 'B.C. Koekkoek 1803 - 1862; Nollert 'B.C. Koekkoek - Prins de Landschapschilders'; G. Norman 'Dutch Painters of the 19th Century' Back to list