Alexander Koester

Koester, Alexander

1864 Bergneustadt ‐ 1932 Munich

Information about the artist

Alexander Koester has become known on the international art market as a painter of white ducks on colorfully shimmering waters, which has earned him the name "duck-koester".


Karlsruhe Academy

He was born in Bergneustadt (Kreis Gummersbach) as the son of a shoe manufacturer who initially did not want to know about the artistic ambitions of his child. Only after a pharmacist apprenticeship in 1885 he was allowed to begin studying art at the Karlsruhe Academy, where Koester was trained until 1896 by C. Hoff and C. Meyer. Both belonged to the Düsseldorfer Malerschule. Even during the Academy time, the first genre paintings were created, which still clearly show the influence of the Düsseldorf School of Painting.


Klausen and the ducks

After completing his studies, Koester moves to Klausen, where numerous works emerge directly after nature. In doing so, he discovers an object of study that will occupy him for a further thirty years in a wide range of variations: the duck.


Lake Constance

From 1908, the artist regularly visits the Lake Constance region to paint large, wide water surfaces in all weather moods. During the war Koester stays for a while in Dießen am Ammersee and settles there. There he devotes himself primarily to the depiction of floral still lifes.


Exhibitions and breakthrough

Shortly before the turn of the century, Koester exhibited one of his duck motifs for the first time. The success story began no later than 1900 with a sensational acquisition by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Two years later, the painter received the Silver State Medal in Salzburg and the Gold Medal in Berlin the same year.


International recognition

English galleries are starting to get interested in Koester. In 1904, the painter was honored with the gold medal at the World's Fair in St. Louis, USA. In 1907, the King of Italy acquires one of his works.


Museums and collections

His works are scattered in private collections and museums of several continents. An "evening sun" was owned by Emperor Wilhelm II, "Ducks in peace" was acquired by the King of Italy. Museums in Wroclaw, Chemnitz, Dessau, Graz and Munich secured his paintings. The vast majority of the estate is now kept by the Neue Pinakothek in Munich.

Works of art

More information about the artist