Barend Cornelis Koekkoek was a name that was to become synonymous with the term Dutch Romanticism. Born in 1803, he was of a generation influenced by the Romanticism sweeping Europe and became firmly identified with the formation of the singular Dutch Romantic style. Koekkoek was born in Middelburg in the Province of Zeeland, 11th October 1803.
His father, under whom he was to study, being the marine painter Jan Hermanus Koekkoek (1778-1851). Following his studies with his father, Barend enrolled at the Middelburg Academy where he was a pupil of the Director, Abraham Krayestein (1793-1855), a painter of landscapes and town scenes. He continued his studies at the Academy in Amsterdam 1823-26 having already travelled to the Alps, producing scenes of mountain torrents. After completing his studies at the Academy, Koekkoek moved to Hilversum, returning to Amsterdam 1828-32 and to Hilversum again in 1833, the year in which he married Elize Therese Daiwaille (1814-1881), a fellow painter and daughter of the artist Jean Augustin Daiwaille (1786-1850). In 1836 they settled in Kleve, where in 1841, Koekkoek established an Academy. Amongst his pupils Koekkoek numbered artists who were to be fellow Romantics, including Johann Bernard Klombeck (1815-1893), Fredrik Marinus Kruseman (1817-1882), Willem Bodeman (1806-1880), Paul Joseph Constantin Gabriel (1828-1903) and his brother Marinus Adrianus Koekkoek (1807-1870). Koekkoek encouraged his pupils to study the Old Masters and their portrayal of nature, as had Koekkoek himself, the 17th century landscape painters and the works of Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709) being a particular influence on his style, composition and subject matter.
B. C. Koekkoek travelled widely, taking as his subjects the landscape of Holland in winter and summer, panoramic and woodland scenes and views in Belgium and Germany where he was a frequent visitor, painting views on the Rhine and Moselle. He was a highly successful artist sought after by patrons all across Europe. In 1846 King Wilhelm II acquired a pair of views of Luxembourg by the artist.
B. C. Koekkoek exhibited widely in Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Kleve, Leiden and abroad in Brussels and Antwerp and further afield in London, Berlin and Paris. In Paris he was awarded medals in 1840-45. He was also elected as member of the Academy in Rotterdam and St Petersburg.
Barend Cornelis Koekkoek was undoubtedly one of the finest artists of his generation, the inspiration for the Dutch Romantic Movement and highly influential on the course Dutch landscape painting, was to follow, through the work of his pupils.
His works can be found in museums in: Sheffield; Amsterdam; Antwerp; Berlin; Bremen; Breslau; Cologne; Dijon; Dordrecht; Enschede; Groningen; Haarlem; The Hague; Leeuwarden; Leiden; Leipzig; Nantes; Otterlo and New York.