Moderni/Alexander Koester


Alexander Koester made the duck his object of study: it is the main motif of his life's work and gave him the name ‘Duck Koester’. Both Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Italian King Vittorio Emanuele III purchased one of his duck paintings. Koester also increasingly focussed on the play of light and shadow on water. His works developed from realistic depictions to impressionism - towards the end of his life, he completely dispensed with detail in his paintings and increasingly painted colourful floral still lifes. As a member of the Munich Artists' Co-operative, he took part in many exhibitions. The majority of Koester's works are now in the new Pinakothek in Munich.



Alexander Max Koester was born in Neustadt in February 1864. He completed an apprenticeship in a pharmacy before beginning to study art at the Karlsruhe Academy. At the time, he earned his living by painting portraits, but was very interested in genre painting and atmospheric landscapes. After completing his studies, he moved to Klausen, his wife Isabella's hometown, where he finally devoted himself entirely to painting. He mostly spent his summers in his studio in Munich. When Klausen was declared a war zone in 1915, he moved to the Ammersee. Koester received a small gold medal at the Great Berlin Art Exhibition, while in Salzburg he was honoured with a Silver State Medal. In 1904, he was honoured with a gold medal for his painting ‘Enten’ (Ducks) at the World Exhibition in St. Louis. He also received a gold medal from Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria for the painting ‘Dem Ufer zu’. Koester died in Munich in 1932.

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