In this ongoing series for Fine Art Today, we take a longer look at the history and features of a soon-to-be-available artwork of note. This week: Barend Cornelis Koekkoek, “Winter Landscape with Wood Gatherers and Skaters.”
“Prince of Landscape Painting” was the well-deserved titled given to Dutch romantic painter Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (1803-1862). Be that as it may, this was only one of the endless number of awards and honors Koekkoek received over his career.
Koekkoek was an artist from birth, as his father, Johannes, and his two brothers, Hermanus and Marinus, were also successful painters. Barend, however, would enjoy the most career success, counting among his illustrious patrons King Friedrich-Wilhelm IV of Prussia, Tsar Alexander II, and King Willem II of the Netherlands.
Like many other romantics of his generation, Koekkoek found endless fascination in the majesty and sublimity of creation. Like his contemporary artist Caspar David Friedrich, Koekkoek preferred to place diminutive figures within imposing natural landscapes. “The motif was a popular source of inspiration among Romantic artists,” writes Heritage Auctions, “emphasizing a humbling contrast between the inconsequential stature of mankind, and the grandeur and vastness of creation.”
Heritage Auctions will offer a beautiful original from the painter during its June 24 “European Paintings” sale in Dallas, Texas. The work, titled “Winter Landscape with Wood Gatherers and Skaters,” dates to 1854 and represents the artist’s mature years. Continuing, the auction house describes, “Set in the fiery golden glow of a dwindling sun, this work combines all the elements for which the artist was best known: dazzlingly detailed figures in various states of daily activity, an evocative atmospheric mood, and an emphasis on the sublimity and majesty of nature. This work reveals a careful study and synthesis of Dutch seventeenth-century painters, and firmly roots the artist within the great tradition established by masters such as Hobbema, Cuyp, Ruisdael and Wynants. The golden light and the inclusion of travelers in his work suggests Koekkoek also admired the Dutch Italianate painters of the seventeenth century, including Pieter van Laer and Jan Both.” Auction estimates are between $150,000 and $250,000.
To view the full catalogue, visit Heritage Auctions.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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