Private Collection, United States
Charles Leickert was born in Brussels, and at the mere age of eleven he started to follow classes at the Drawing Academy in The Hague. At the academy he became friends with fellow students such as Wijnand Nuyen (1813-1839), Antonie Waldorp (1803-1866), Salomon Verveer (1813-1876) and Johannes Franciscus Hoppenbrouwers (1819-1866).
Life at the academy was incredibly important for Leickert’s artistic development as he was fortunate enough to have the celebrated townscape painter Bartholomeus Johannes van Hove (1790-1880) as his tutor. He was instructed on the fundamental principles of the academic tradition, focusing on the rendering of line and chiaroscuro after plaster casts. Unfortunately Leickert was cast some bad luck when his father died, leaving him and his mother with a lack of funds to continue his artist education. Luckily for Leickert, his mother was able to convince the academy that due to his pure talent and skill he deserved a drawing scholarship and so he was duly able to progress.
As soon as the talented Nuyen opened his own studio in 1833, Leickert left the academy and joined him. Following Nuyen’s untimely death in 1839 Leickert moved to the studio of Nuyen’s tutor Andreas Schelfhout (1787-1870). Once more, the young Leickert was greatly influence by this renowned landscape master, and as a result he made rapid progress, becoming one of Schelfhout’s most prominent pupils. In a review of an exhibition held in 1844 it was noted that Leickert followed in the footsteps of his much-admired teacher. An art critic wrote: ‘… Mr C. Leickert, of The Hague, demonstrates with his winter scene […] that he has turned the lessons of his master to good use…’.
Naturally, Leickert specialised in landscapes, the genre that had made his teacher famous. As with many of his works, what is noticeable in this piece is the dramatic lighting in the street as for Leickert figures were subservient to the landscape. In 1847 he was present at the founding of the Pulchri Studio in The Hague and he became a regular member of the artist’s society ‘Arti et Amicitiae’ in Amsterdam. From 1848 onwards Leickert settled in Amsterdam, moving to the German city of Mainz in 1887.