Although Maks is generally known for his preference for extravagant subjects taken from the frivolous night life, among which circus acts and dancing couples are prevalent. However, in earlier paintings Maks shows a darker, more impressionist side in depicting the 'Nieuwe Teertuinen' in Amsterdam.
The 'Teertuinen' (or 'Targardens') were situated at the present Prins Hendrikkade and they served as a place where tar could be bought. In 1643 they were replaced to the north-west, to the former Sloterdijksgracht near the Haarlemmerpoort and hence the 'Oude Teertuinen' became the 'Nieuwe Teertuinen.'
It is not very surprising that Maks started out with an impressionist style of painting, taking into account that George Hendrik Breitner had been his master up until 1900. They even had flanking studios at Prinseneiland (opposite the 'Nieuwe Teertuinen'). In the daytime they would set out in Amsterdam to make sketches of docks and construction sites.
Since the impressions of the 'Teertuinen' are quite different from Maks' later artistic period, these works are rather rare in Maks' oeuvre. What is very special about this series, to which the present lot belongs, is that we can recognise the influence of G.H. Breitner, both in subject matter as in style.