Barend Cornelis Koekkoek's working ethos had always been to draw and paint from nature and when he moved to the Rhenish Cleves in 1834 this philosophy became only more apparent in his work. In the current lot he has carefully constructed the undulating landscape of the Rhineland with its many plans. Koekkoek was fond of the many-layered scenery that he had missed back in the Netherlands and he took full advantage of it. He loved it, because it enabled him to apply multiple technical skills in his paintings. Not only could he depict elaborate trees, but also an atmospheric perspective near the horizon. The space between the first and the last plan was much more extensive than the flat Dutch forest- or polder landscapes. He achieved such accurate representation of nature through setting up his oils in crayon, before applying the paint. With the sharpest pencil it is easier to set up a precise composition than with the smallest brush. In this, he followed in the footsteps of the old Dutch masters, especially Jacob van Ruisdael (1628-1682), who would sketch before he applied the paint.
The present painting is not only magnificent with the manifold stages, but also in its colouring: the warm palette Koekkoek has used creates a lush impression. The pink tones of the sky stand out sharply against the cool green shades of the tree leaves. The clouds are not white, but pink and lilac and the riverside town seems to shimmer in the golden light of the setting sun.
The authenticity of the present lot has kindly been confirmed by Drs Guido de Werd, director of Haus Koekkoek, Cleves, on the basis of a colour photograph.