Willem Koekkoek - View of a Dutch Street in Summer
View of a Dutch Street in Summer
Oil on canvas. 65 x 85 cm.
Signed lower left: W. Koekkoek.
Willem Koekkoek was a member of the large and extensive Koekkoek dynasty of Netherlandish painters. This line spanned four generations and brought forth 16 painters. He was the son of Hermanus I Koekkoek, who is especially well-known for his small-format seascapes and river landscapes. Two of his four uncles were the famous landscape artists Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (1803-1862) and Marinus Adrianus I Koekkoek (1807-1868). Willem's sons Hermanus Willem (1876-1929) and Marinus Adrianus II (1873-1944) also followed the family tradition and became landscape painters.
The young Willem Koekkoek first learnt to paint under his father, and the two later worked together throughout the 1860s. He is known to have changed residence frequently from 1878 to 1885 - moving from Amsterdam, to The Hague, to Utrecht and then back to Amsterdam - eventually settling in Nieuwer-Amstel (Amstelveen). In 1888 he undertook a lengthy sojourn to London to visit his brother Hermanus II, who made a very successful living there as a painter and art dealer.
Willem Koekkoek is most well-known for his Dutch cityscapes, which are characterised by their finely painted and realistic depictions of architecture. The artful play of light and shadow accentuates these details. Whilst the houses in the foreground remain bathed in gentle light, the houses at the end of the street fade into a soft haze, and the calm atmosphere of the scene is accentuated by the figures strolling and talking peacefully with one another. Koekkoek usues the figures as more than merely props, giving each of them their own specific attributes and position within the scene, so that the viewer almost appears to be granted a glimpse into their daily lives.
Examples of similar works by Koekkoek can be found in the B. C. Koekkoek-Haus in Cleves, the National Gallery in London and in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Galerie Paffrath, Düsseldorf 2004. - Private collection, West Germany.