Hermanus Koekkoek the Elder was a member of the famous Koekkoek painters family; the son of Johannes Hermanus Koekkoek, and brother of the landscape painters, Barend Cornelis, Johannes and Marinus Adrianus. His sons, Hermanus (the Younger), Willem, Johannes Hermanus Barend, and Hendrik Barend, all became painters. He also had three daughters.
His father specialized in marine art, and gave Hermanus his first art lessons. In 1826, his family moved to Durgerdam, near Amsterdam. Later, he went to Amsterdam, took classes at the Rijksakademie, and established himself as a free-lance artist. Like his father, he focused on marine art, although he also created numerous landscapes.
His style was a combination of Realism, and the newer Romantic aesthetic. Influences from the artists of the Dutch Golden Age are clearly visible, as well.
In 1832 one could see a ‘churning water’ of him for the first time at the Exhibition of Living Masters in Amsterdam, and here it appeared that his left-handedness did not hinder his talent. In Amsterdam he had a very successful career as a painter of sea, beach and river views for fifty years. Ships in stormy weather, on scribbling waves or on crystal-smooth water were his specialty. He also painted some wooded landscapes. In Hermanus’ work, the influence of father Johannes Hermanus is evident in the detailed depiction of the vessels, the characterful drawing of the water and the lively, narrative upholstery. With a fine brushstroke and the same eye for detail, he painted the daily life of the fishermen on the ships. Buyers loved such realistic details at the time. Like his father, he sold a lot of work abroad, especially to England. In addition to the Zeeland waters, the painter also found inflow in and around the Zuiderzee, the current IJsselmeer, which was then busy with professional ships and offered a completely different look than now.
His works may be seen at the Teylers Museum, and the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. The Rijksprentenkabinet of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam has a collection of his drawings.
– Private collection, The Netherlands
– Douwes Fine Art, Amsterdam 2022