Alexander Koester Germany

2-10-1864 Bergneustadt, GER - 12-21-1932 Munich, GER

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Koester, Alexander

After completing his secondary education in 1882, Alexander Koester fulfilled the wishes of his parents by training as an apothecary at Witzheim in Colmar, though he subsequently enrolled at the Karlsruhe Akademie to study visual arts three years later. During this period, he was put under the tutelage of Claus Meyer and Karl Hoff, both of whom specialized in social or domestic genre painting.

In 1889, Alexander Koester made a series of excursions through the rocky terrain of the Netherlands, in particular the Alpine valley of Oetztal, sketching scenic landscapes and images of rural life.

Having grown fond of the resort town of Klausen since his first visit in 1891, the artist chose to settle there after graduating from Karlsruhe in 1896. The tranquil, isolated atmosphere was conducive to refining his creative practice, and it was at this point that he began using ducks as an object of study, producing a range of variations based on the Anatidae duck species. The series debuted in Berlin in 1899 to great acclaim, with the price of each painting dependent on the number of ducks depicted. His style, which resembled a liberated form of Impressionism, drew in critics and patrons alike with its immediacy and detailing, leading to an employment offer from the Darmstadt Academy at the end of the year. Alexander Koester, however, politely declined the job, preferring instead to build a career as a freelance painter.

In the early 1900s, he rented a studio in Munich in order to be closer to the vistas of Upper Bavaria, where he spent most summer months. In 1908, he traveled into the region around Lake Constance, capturing the shifting colors of the water in diverse weather conditions. The area was declared a war zone in 1915

Alexander Koester gained the title “Duck” or “Enten” Koester, as he was one of the few artists who so thoroughly and so popularly, and for such a long time, painted the duck in its environs.

Movement: Naturalism
Influences: Claus Meyer, Karl Hoff
Traveled: Netherlands

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