Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek was head of an extraordinary dynasty of artists that included his sons Barend Cornelis (1803-1862), Marinus Adrianus (1807-1868), Johannes (1811-1831) and Hermanus (1815-1882), all of whom were born in Middelburg. Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek was born in Veere in 1778 but moved to Middelburg around 1800 where he received his education at the local drawing academy. At a later age he would return to the same academy, but this time as a teacher. Many of Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek's contemporaries chose the sea as their subject, but Johannes would prove to be one of the most accomplished seascape painters of them all and was already in his own time internationally renowned. His Romantic paintings were especially sought after by English and German collectors.
Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek was one of the first painters from the beginning of the 19th century who was inspired by 17th century painters such as Willem van de Velde (1611-1693) and Ludolf Bakhuyzen (1630-1708). But he was not only inspired by 17th century artists, the great French painter Claude Joseph Vernet (1714-1789), who was a master in expressing his romantic feelings in dramatic seascapes, was a great inspiration for him as well. Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek would paint his seascapes with a similar intention. The theoretical knowledge Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek had off all the ships is clearly visible in his paintings and he even made, solely for practice, small but very accurate models of the vessels. In 1826 the artist moved to Durgerdam, a small village near Amsterdam, where he remained until his death in 1851. In Amsterdam he found many buyers, national as well as international, for his magnificent seascapes.
Although the sea was his main subject, Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek made sure that his paintings were always versatile. The present lot shows a beautifully balanced composition and precision in detail and execution for which Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek was known. Besides the skilled execution of the figures on the jetty and the way the light reflects on the waves, the subject of this painting also adds to its desirability.
The present lot depicts a Dutch frigate, an American merchantman together with several other vessels sailing under foreign flag. Two elegantly dressed gentlemen are conversing on the jetty, near a 'Botterjacht'. To the left of the Dutch frigate sails the barge 'vrouw Anna'. A painting from Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek as beautiful and impressive as the present lot has not been seen in salesrooms for many years.