To provide better access to their livelihood, Dutch fishermen’s houses were often built in the shoreline dunes. Here, a boy and girl tend a goat before a simple, weathered homestead. The artist's mastery of texture is especially evident in the foreground, where the few green plants clinging to a bit of soil give way to the sand of the dunes, creating a pathway to where the fisherman's flat-bottomed boats would be pulled up onto the beach. The sun pierces through the sea clouds to illuminate the dunes in the distance.
Johannes Hermanus Barend Koekkoek was the son of the landscapist and marine painter Hermanus. He was especially successful in exhibitions in Germany. Though best known as a painter of shore scenes, he also made pure landscapes. Based in and near Amsterdam until 1864, he then moved to Hilversum where he died in 1912.