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Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (Dutch, 1803-1862)


Also known as:  Koekkoek, Barend Cornelius


Barend Cornelis Koekkoek was a founding member of the Dutch Romanticist movement whose paintings became so famous that he was called the “Prince of Landscape Painting” during his lifetime. Born into a family of painters, Koekkoek studied landscape at an early age, and as such enrolled at the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten at the tender age of 19. From the start, Koekkoek focused on landscapes, painting huge majestic woodland scenes that showed the duality of nature -- a popular view at this time.

The second half of Koekkoek’s life was spent teaching at various art institutions throughout the Netherlands, becoming so popular that he published a book about painting for children. The nostalgic moods of his paintings proved popular with both critical and populist ideas of painting, and his success was such that he was able to buy a grand Italian villa to retire to in 1842. Imposing, majestic, and ultimately beautiful it’s easy to see why Koekkoek’s work was so popular in his day -- and why a current resurgence in popularity seems to be underway. 

What type of art did Barend Cornelis Koekkoek Create?

Barend Cornelis Koekkoek is famous for creating atmospheric landscape paintings, so much so that he was dubbed the “Prince of Landscape Painting” during his lifetime. His work owes much to the Dutch and German romantic painters of the time -- featuring lush, mysterious landscapes that often dwarf the human subjects of the painting. Koekkoek was enthralled by the natural world and his paintings capture that mixture of awe and profound respect. 

How often do Barend Cornelis Koekkoek paintings come up for auction?

Barend Cornelis Koekkoek’s paintings don’t come up for auction nearly as often as his Dutch contemporaries. It’s only in recent years that Koekkoek’s paintings have seen a resurgence. While his work has gone in and out of fashion (and then back in again) there is no denying his technical expertise and contribution to the Dutch romanticists of that time. 

How much is a Barend Cornelis Koekkoek painting worth?

Barend Cornelis Koekkoek’s paintings are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. His more major works can have fetched over a million at auction (well exceeding most high estimates for his work). While his work had an initial surge in the early 2000s before quieting down, recent years have seen Koekkoek’s paintings rise in popularity once again.

Which Barend Cornelis Koekkoek painting is the most valuable? 

The most valuable painting by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek is WOOD-GATHERERS IN A WINTER LANDSCAPE (1856). It was bought at auction for $1,259,500. It has many of Koekkoek’s signature aesthetics, figures on horseback outside shadowy ruins, dwarfed by the wooded landscape. It was sold in 2006 and many of Koekkoek’s paintings that have sold for similar amounts were sold during this time. 

What are the most famous paintings by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek? 

The most famous painting by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek is the aforementioned WOOD-GATHERERS IN A WINTER LANDSCAPE (1856). Cornelis has a number of similar paintings that all depict similarly intense landscapes. Forest Scene (1848), Sunset on the Rhine (1853), and Landscape with a Rainstorm Threatening (1829) have all been featured in major collections or institutions. 

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