The number of canvases painted by Stephen Koekkoek has been estimated at around 10 thousand; he lived in Argentina during the majority of his productive life. Landscape was his preferred genre, and he practiced all of its diverse variations.
In Boats, the lower portion of the canvas occupied by the water corresponds to the great majority of the work. The horizon and sky have been reduced to a minimal expression, a slim strip that would seem to be just one part of a work that has been split into fragments.
The ample waves produced by one of the boats on a large expanse of water appear to be the theme of the painting. The waves cover more than half of the surface and their movement envelops the boat, in which several figures occupy themselves with activities that we know nothing and can suppose little about. Behind this boat there is a group of others that also move gently in response to the waves.
The strip of land is even more suggestive; different forms are submerged in the mist, where certain highlights can be discerned. This small section contrasts with the painting's middle plane, where the boats appear to be in movement. Koekkoek has created a dense atmosphere along the coast that is complemented by the water in the extensive foreground, which appears to be similarly dense and thick due to the color and drawing in the waves. The artist thus creates a special mood in this port landscape, where he has not forgotten to employ a play of highlights and reflections, such as the daub of yellow that is seen above and to the right, as well as others that emerge from the primary waves.