Unlike his brothers, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek was academically trained, and he made it his mission to pass on his knowledge and skills.
His own attempts to establish an academy of art in Cleves failed; but from 1841, a fellow artist, who specialised in drawing, brought Dutch and German artists together under Koekkoek’s leadership. In the Dutch press, this step was seen as the final rejection of his home country:
“It is a matter of regret when men of merit leave their country for a limited period, but it is even sadder when one sees […] painters such as B.C. Koekkoek bidding farewell to their home country for all time. We noted with regret that the famous landscape painter has established an academy of drawing in Cleves, which already boasts fifteen members and began its work last month.”
To celebrate the first year of the drawing college’s existence, the students and “brother artists” presented Koekkoek with this silver-plated palette…
… they’d even personally engraved their names on the back.
To introduce the works of what became known as the “Cleves School” to a wider audience, the “Cleves Art Society” was founded in 1843. It was a joint stock company that organised annual exhibitions and art lotteries.