Willem Koekkoek was the pupil of his father, the famous marine painter Hermanus Koekkoek Sr. (1815-1882). Willem Koekkoek grew up in Amsterdam and soon became one of the most distinguished painters of townscapes travelling throughout the Netherlands, working in The Hague (before 1878), Utrecht (1878-1880), Amsterdam (1880-1885) and Nieuwer Amstel (1885-1888) In 1888 Willem moved to London, where he stayed with his brother Hermanus Jr., who had begun a successful career as an art dealer. No wonder many of Willem Koekkoek's townscapes are in British collections, as his paintings were greatly admired for the nostalgic mood they convey and his uniquely refined and detailed style of painting.
What makes the present lot unique, is that Willem and his father, Hermanus Sr., worked together on this picturesque view of a Dutch town, with villagers doing their day to day activities. Hermanus was responsible for the figures, while Willem could show his architectural painting skills in this elaborate town view. No topographical exactitude was rendered in this painting; buildings are invented and arranged to create a beautiful composition. This practice known as 'capriccio' was quite common in the 19th century. Painters like Eversen, Karsen and Leickert were amongst several painters who took the liberty of adjusting reality to fit their own vision.
The present lot is an impressive example, not only because of its size, but also because of the ability to capture Holland's Golden Age of Romanticism.
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