Guido de Werd has kindly confirmed the authenticity of this lot on the basis of a photograph.
Barend Cornelis Koekkoek is by far the most important landscape painter of Dutch Romanticism. During his lifetime he came to be known as ' the prince of landscape painters'. Up to this day his reputation as one of the finest and most gifted landscape painters remains unchallenged.
Koekkoek was the eldest son of the renowned marine painter Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek (1778-1851), from whom he received his earliest tuition. In 1822, at the age of 19, he was granted a scholarship by King Willem I, which enabled him to study at the Royal Academy of Arts in Antwerp, where he received lessons from Jan Willem Pieneman and Auguste Daiwaille.
Already at that time, Koekkoek voiced a firm ambition to become a painter of landscapes. A two year stay in Hilversum (1826-1827), housing an artist colony of landscapists and cattle painters, strengthened his decision.
The landscapes he painted in the rural surroundings of Hilversum were received favourably and earned him a gold medal in 1829. This indicates that his unique talent was recognised at a very early stage.
The Dutch countryside failed to keep Koekkoek's romantic soul satisfied. 'To be sure', he wrote in 1841, 'our fatherland boasts no rocks, waterfalls, high mountains or romantic valleys. Proud, sublime nature is not to be found in our land'. Therefore his move to Germany in the early 1830's didn't come as a surprise. He travelled along the river Ahr, Rhine and Ruhr, finally settling in Cleves in 1834, where he stayed for the rest of his life.
The impressive river valleys and age-old woods surrounding Cleves, attracting Dutch artists since the 17th century, matched his romantic ideals perfectly. From that moment large, gnarled oak trees, winding paths and panoramic vistas filled his compositions with an artful blend of minute detail and atmospheric mood.
Under Koekkoek's leadership Cleve became the breading ground for a new and influential school of landscape painting. As a consequence of his growing fame, many young artists came to Cleves, wishing to be tutored by the revered master. For this reason Koekkoek founded his own academy in 1841, instructing his students to follow the rules of landscape painting as described in his book ' Memoirs and reports of a landscape painter' (Herinneringen en mededeelingen van eenen landschapschilder), published that same year. Among his students were talented landscapists like J.B. Klombeck, F.M. Kruseman, L.J. 'Kleijn and M.A. Koekkoek, to name but a few.
The present lot, showing a breathtaking panoramic view, is a wonderful example of Koekkoek's unsurpassed virtuosity. It contains all the elements for which his art became famous. On the foreground, we see travellers overlooking the wonderful panoramic landscape, hills extending far beyond. One can't stop admiring the richness of the painting; from the sweeping panoramic vista, divided into various levels, to even the smallest detail, like the leafs and blades of grass, each depicted with almost botanical accuracy.
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