• Old Masters and 19th Century A auction at Christies

    Sale 2840

    Old Masters and 19th Century Art

    13 April 2010, Amsterdam

  • Lot 136

    Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (Middelburg 1803-1862 Cleves)

    A wooded landscape with a herdsman and his cattle resting under an oak tree

    Price Realised  


    Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (Middelburg 1803-1862 Cleves)
    A wooded landscape with a herdsman and his cattle resting under an oak tree
    signed and dated 'B.C. Koekkoek ft 1855' (lower right); and signed and dated again and inscribed 'Deze schilderij voorstellende een Boschgezicht met een beek waaraan enige koeien, geiten enz, Zomer, bij een "mooie belichting", is geschilderd in t jaar 1855 door BC Koekkoek' (on a label attached to the reverse) with artist's seal
    oil on canvas
    97.9 x 81.5 cm.

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    A pivotal figure in the evolution of Dutch 19th Century painting, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek achieved international fame as one of the most important landscape painters of his generation. Born in Middelburg, he trained, just like his brothers, under his father, Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek (1778-1851) before joining the Amsterdam Rijksakademie to train with Jean Augustin Daiwaille (1786-1850). Between 1826 and 1834 he travelled frequently, visiting the Harz Mountains, the Rhine and the Ruhr. His first great success came in 1829 when he won the gold medal of the Amsterdam society Felix Meritis with Landscape with a Rainstorm Threatening now in the Rijksmuseum.

    The present work, dated 1855, was painted in Cleves, a small German town in which the artist occupied a prominent position. Not only did he found an academy, he began a Kunstverein, a local society to promote the appreciation of works of art in 1847. He would remain in Cleve until his death in 1862 and in 1960 his house became the Städtisches Museum Haus Koekkoek.

    Magnificent romantic landscapes form the core of Koekkoek's oeuvre and the present lot is an exceptionally fine example, capturing the essence of the natural world. In this monumental canvas cattle is grazing peacefully in a magnificent old forest. Light enters the work diagonally from the upper left, lighting up the imposing and dignified oak tree nearest to the picture plane. The sunrays also allow for a myriad of different greens to be created amongst the denser forest whilst the fur of the animals takes on a glistening quality.

    The present lot is exemplary for Koekkoek's mature work of the 1850s. An unusually high level of finish is combined with a preoccupation for aged trees and recalls the work of Jacob van Ruisdael (1628-1682). The massive contorted branches and knotted trunks symbolize the enduring and conversely transitory nature of life itself.

    The authenticity of the present lot has kindly been confirmed by Drs Guido de Werd, director of Haus Koekkoek, Cleves, on basis of a photograph.

    Special Notice

    Christie’s charges a premium to the buyer on the Hammer Price of each lot sold at the following rates: 29.75% of the Hammer Price of each lot up to and including €20,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €20,001 and €800.000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €800.000. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.


    Mr. J.A. van Bever, Amsterdam.
    Anonymous sale; Frederik Muller & cie, Amsterdam, 7 November 1941, lot 103.
    with Paffrath, Düsseldorf. 1941.
    Recoverd by the Allies, 1946.
    In the custody of the Dutch Government, no. NK2944; on loan to the Städtisches Museum Haus Koekkoek, Cleves, 1997-2006
    Restituted to the heirs of Mr. J.A. van Bever in 2006.


    J. Knoef, Van Romantiek tot Realisme, The Hague, 1947, p. 43, illustrated.
    F. Gorissen, B.C. Koekkoek 1803-1862: Werkverzeichnis der Gemälde, Düsseldorf, 1962, no. 55/100, illustrated.
    A. Nollert, G. de Werd, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek, zijn familie, zijn school en het B.C. Koekkoek-Huis in Kleef, Cleves, 2000, p. 8, illustrated, as:'Boslandschap met Vee'.


    Cleves, Städtisches Museum Haus Koekkoek, Ausstellung B.C. Koekkoek, 24 June-30 September 1962, no. 87.
    Dordrecht, Dordrechts Museum, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (1803-1862). Prins der Landschapschilders, 18 June-31 August 1997, no. 54.