Barend Cornelis Koekkoek is generally considered to be the most important landscape painter of the Dutch Romantic period. The present painting, depicting the outskirts of a Rhenish town on a beautiful sunlit afternoon in winter, was painted in the 1850s at the height of Koekkoek's mastery and international recognition.
Barend Cornelis was the eldest of four children. His father and first teacher was the river and seascape painter Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek (1778-1851). At thirteen Koekkoek studied at the local academy and attended the evening classes of Abraham Kraystein (1793-1855). A scholarship awarded by the Dutch Government made it possible for Koekkoek to attend the art academy in Amsterdam, where he became a pupil of Jean Augustin Daiwaille (1786-1850) whom he befriended and worked with during the rest of his career.
Koekkoek undertook several journeys along the Rhine, the Ahr and the Ruhr from both The Netherlands and the old Ducal city of Cleves where the artist had settled permanently in 1834. These trips gave him the opportunity, while drawing and studying from nature, to get to know the landscapes and motifs, which he subsequently worked out in paintings in his studio.
The present lot is an exceptionally accomplished work with an unusually large number of figures and a dramatic silhouette of a town suffused with golden sunlight.
We wish to thank Dr. Guido de Werd, director of Museum Haus Koekkoek, for confirming the authenticity of this painting on the basis of a photograph.