The name Koekkoek is synonymous with nineteenth century Dutch painting; it was the foremost family of painters throughout the century. Hermanus Koekkoek Snr was the youngest of four sons, to Jan Hermanus Koekkoek (1778-1851) a painter of seascapes and river scenes. A pupil of his father, Hermanus is recorded as early as 1832 working in Dugerdam.
In 1834 he worked in Amsterdam returning to Dugerdam by 1836 and following this again worked in Amsterdam the home to the majority of his patrons, until 1857. In 1840 Hermanus was elected a member of the Amsterdam Academy and the following year was also elected to the Rotterdam Academy. In the late 1850’s he moved to Nieuwe Amstel, home to a number of artists but again returned to Amsterdam in 1873 where he worked for his remaining years, in 1875 being awarded the ‘Arti et Amicitiae’ gold medal.
Hermanus Koekkoek was primarily a painter, as was his father, of marines, river landscapes and coastal scenes. He can be termed a Romantic, which can be seen in his calm estuary scenes with shipping, and frequently, with beautifully characterised figures in the foreground. Hermanus exhibited 1832-1881 in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam and in 1876 at the Royal Academy, London. Among his pupils were Hermanus Koekkoek Jnr. (1836-1909), Johannes Hermanus Barend Koekkoek (1840-1912), Willem Koekkoek (1839-1895) and Willem Gruyter Jnr (1817-1880).
His works can be seen in museums in: Amsterdam, Stedilijk Museum; Delft, Paul Tetar Museum; Groningen; Rotterdam, Boymans Museum, Prins Hendrik Museum; Melbourne; Courtrai; Glasgow, City Art Gallery and Sheffield, Graves Art Gallery.
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Bibliography: Philip Hook and Mark Poltimore “Popular 19th Century Painting”
Marius “Dutch Painters of the 19th Century”
E. H. H. Archibald “Dictionary of Sea Painters”
E. Bénézit “Dictionnaire des Peintres”