Leaving the Theatre by Kees Maks

  • A stylish snapshot of theatre goers, this oil was composed by the avant-garde painter Kees Maks
  • The Dutch artists was contemporaries of Jan Sluyters and Kees Van Dongen
  • His style eschewed naturalism in favor of a decorative stylization and daring palette
  • This work embodies his bold and expressive brushwork
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-5337

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Kees Maks
1876-1967 | Dutch

Leaving the Theatre

Oil on canvas
Signed "CJ Maks" (lower left)

A stylish snapshot of the Art Deco age, this oil on canvas was composed by the avant-garde Dutch painter Kees Maks. Like his contemporaries Jan Sluyters and Kees Van Dongen, Maks eschewed naturalism in favor of a decorative stylization and daring palette that was distinctly modern. His broad fields of highly saturated color lend a two-dimensionality to his paintings. This example, which captures a group of theatre goers after the show, embodies his bold and expressive brushwork, which enhances the feeling of movement and gaiety in the composition.

Maks exhibited regularly in Paris at the Salon d'Automne between 1910 and 1940, and it is clear that the city had a significant influence on the artist. Along with his friend van Dongen, Maks found inspiration in nightlife, and he painted with a vigor that reflects the vibrancy and spontaneity of the Jazz Age. With a signature boldness, he breaks down his figures to their most basic; his ladies' dresses are depicted as strips of color against a hazy background, while their faces are articulated in pinks and whites with a shock of cheery red at their lips. The mask-like quality of their visages lends further drama to the scene, as though the theatre goers themselves were destined for the stage. Overall, Maks' gestural approach to painting, its lack of detail and indistinct contours, encourages the viewer to delight — and join — in the gaiety and convivial atmosphere of the scene.

Born in Amsterdam in 1876, Maks learned his craft first at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, and later under the tutelage of the painter and photographer George Hendrik Breitner. He first exhibited his work at the Munich Succession exhibition of 1910, and continued to exhibit there as well as the Salon d'Automne in the coming years. He divided his time between his home in Amsterdam and Paris, and his works were particularly well received in the French capital. He specialized in scenes from modern nightlife, including dancing couples, circus acts and the theatre, all rendered in his avant-garde style.

Canvas: 19" high x 30 3/4" wide
Frame: 26 1/4" high x 32 1/4" wide
Leaving the Theatre by Kees Maks
Period: 1919-Present
Origin: Netherlands
Type: Paintings
Depth: 2.25 Inches
Width: 32.25 Inches
Height: 26.25 Inches
Style: Modernism
Canvas Width: 30.75 Inches
Canvas Height: 19 Inches

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