The painter Alexander Max Koester was born on 2nd of October, 1864 at Bergneustadt near Cologne. He was the son of a factory owner in the Rhineland; but even as a child he showed ability in painting, and as a young artist was honored to paint the portrait of the Emperor for the new Officers' School. Because of his love for nature, he moved to the Tirol, where he painted many of his famous duck subjects. The mulberry trees around his fish pond provided the different shadows and sunshine for his paintings.
(Cushing Library at libraryasp.tamu.edu)
In accordance with his parents' wishes Alexander Koester became a trainee apothecary in Wintzheim near Colmar in 1882. After finishing his apprenticeship he enrolled at the Karlsruhe academy in order to study under Carl Hoff and Claus Meyer. In 1889 the artist travelled extensively and particularly while walking the Inn and Oetz valley, produced many sketches, the basis for a series of genre paintings. Already as a student, Alexander Koester earned his livelihood with portrait commissions.
During this time he travelled for the first time to Klausen in Southern Tyrol where he would later settle. But for the time being returned to Karlsruhe where - apart from portraiture - he dedicated himself increasingly to genre painting and contributed to numerous exhibitions. After finishing his studies, Alexander Koester moved to Klausen where the new working conditions led him to great productivity.
Enten im Stroh
Source Nagel Auktionen auction.de
Family of ducks at the water
Five Ducks In A Pond
Elf Enten Unter Birken Und Im Wasser
From ARC at artrenewal.org
From ARC at artrenewal.org
Ducks on a Riverbank on a Sunny Afternoon
The representation of ducks is synonymous with Alexander Koester. For most of his working life he drew inspiration from the feathered creatures mirrored in the glistening surface of the water. His new surroundings inspired him to paint direct from nature, resulting in great productivity. In that process he discovered the duck in all its variety, a subject that would preoccupy him for the rest of his career. Impressions of glittering duck feathers reflecting in the shimmering water surface are reminiscent of late Impressionism. The subject earned him great popularity and success.
(Willow Gallery at willowgallery.com)
This subject quickly became very popular. Koester rented a studio in Munich in order to have easier access to the upper Bavarian landscapes where he painted in summer. In ever increasing painterly virtuosity he produced reflecting surfaces and duck's feathers shimmering in shadow and light. Success did not fail to materialise: In 1904 Koester was awarded the gold medal at the world fair in St Louis for his painting 'Enten'. He was awarded another gold medal by prince regent Luitpold of Bavaria for the painting 'Dem Ufer zu'. As of 1908, the artist became a regular visitor of the area around Lake Constance in order to capture great, wide expanses of water in every weather. During the war Koester temporarily lived in Dießen am Ammersee and eventually settled there. With great enthusiasm he now dedicated himself to flower still lives, though the subject of the duck always remained highly visible in his works until the end. Alexander Koester died on 21 December 1932 in Munich. Today, the pictures of ducks embedded in landscapes still account for his reputation as 'Enten-Koester'.