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Maks Kees

Amsterdam 1876 – 1967

Dutch Painter

Chrysanthemum in a Vase

Signature: Signed lower left
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Image size 108 x 94 cm, frame size 123 x 110 cm

Maks Cornelis Johannes, more commonly recognised as Kees Maks, was a distinguished Dutch painter, born in Amsterdam on August 22, 1876. His artistic journey began with studies at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam, where he refined his skills under the mentorship of the esteemed artist George Hendrik Breitner.

Kees Maks achieved international acclaim for his significant contributions to the art world. Notable among his achievements were his participations in the Munich Secession exhibitions of 1910, 1911, 1912, and 1914, showcasing the breadth of his talent. Additionally, Maks was a regular exhibitor at the Salon d’Automne in Paris between 1910 and 1940. His artistic prowess was further recognised as his works became part of the art competitions at both the 1928 and 1948 Summer Olympics. The impact of his art extended to the prestigious 1939 exhibition and sale, “Onze Kunst van Heden”, held at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Amidst the interbellum period, marked by the influence of the avant-garde movement across Europe, Kees Maks, along with many artists, embraced a neo-classical figuration known as ‘Retour à l’ordre.’ This transition was reflective of a return to classical order and form. Collaborating with his friend Kees van Dongen, Maks garnered significant popularity, particularly in Paris. His distinctive paintings, depicting scenes of fashionable nightlife, introduced novel themes such as circus acts, dancing couples, garden parties and flowers previously uncommon in Dutch art. Characterised by vibrant subjects and a playful approach to painting, employing simplified masses of bright, strong colours, Maks left an enduring impression on his audience.

Together with fellow artists Kees van Dongen and Jan Sluijters, Kees Maks’s works were celebrated for their modern character, representing a departure from traditional artistic themes. His impact extended to the annual Salons in Paris, where he actively participated from 1910 to 1945, solidifying his presence and influence in the international art scene.

Cornelis Johannes Maks dedicated his life to art until his passing on October 28, 1967, at the age of 91 in Amsterdam, leaving behind a legacy of internationally acclaimed artworks that enriched the cultural tapestry of the art world.

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