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Willem Koekkoek

1839 - 1895

Born in Amsterdam in 1839 where he lived and worked for the greater part of his life. He died there in 1895.

Willem Koekkeok was the son of Hermanus Koekkoek, the well known Marine painter, and along with his brother Johannes Hermann Barend, he received lessons and encouragement from his father. The Koekkoek family were famous in Amsterdam and spanned three generations of Painters, each one receiving lessons and guidance from his respective father. He was however apprenticed in and worked successfully as an architect in Amsterdam, and only later, when he moved to the Hague in 1878 did he follow the family tradition of painting.

Willem Koekkoek is best known for his street scenes, often depicted in Winter. His architectural background is apparent but he introduces figures and animals with a most intricate detail and observation. He painted mainly his native country, Holland, depicting the ways of the people in his everyday life. His style is distinctive and recognizably Dutch, but his handling of colour and shade is particularly individual. The use of strong green to highlight details is typical. He is skillful in his use of light and shade.

In 1880 he moved to Amsterdam, then to Niewer-Amstel in 1885 where he died on 29th January. His painting was most successful during his stay in Amsterdam, his home town, where he really established his name in the forefront of all architectural painting.

Willem Koekkoek became widely collected in Great Britain during his life, culminating in a visit to London in 1888. His work is represented in several museums including the Amsterdam Historical Museum and Toneelmuseum, Amsterdam and the Museum of MontrTal in Canada.