Works by Isaac Israels
Isaac Israels Biography
Son of the Hague School artist Jozef Israels, Isaac Israels was a leading figure of the Amsterdam Impressionism movement, renowned for his highly personal, luminous and free brushwork and subjects from his travels to Paris, London, and Indonesia.
At the mere age of thirteen, Israels attended the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague where he befriended Georg Hendrik Breitner. Between 1880 and 1884, Israels and Breitner were both particularly fascinated by military subjects and in 1882 Israels debuted at the Salon with Military Burial. In 1886, the two artists enrolled at the Reijksacademie in Amsterdam but after only a year the pair left the academy and joined the circle of the Tachtigers (or ‘Eighties’ group), a progressive Dutch movement of writers and artists.
Through trips to Paris with his father, Israels had come into contact with the French realist writers Emile Zola and J.K. Huysmans. In 1894, Israels received a permit to take his easel to the streets and paint the urban milieu en plein air. 1900, he was introduced by his childhood friend Thérèse Schwartze to the Amsterdam fashion house Hirsch & Cie, in whose studios he regularly painted.
In 1904, Israels moved to Paris. The parks, cafes, cabarets, and street scenes which Israels studied in Amsterdam continued to be his chosen subject in Paris; however, he also took to painting acrobats and fairgrounds. Israels moved to London in the spring of 1913 but grew increasingly frustrated here as the outbreak of the First World War prevented him from painting out in the streets. He redirected his interests towards boxers and wrestlers. He returned to Holland for the remainder of the war, moving between The Hague, Amsterdam and Scheveningen, where he used to holiday with his father, accompanied by other artists such as Edouard Manet.
After the war, Israels passed much of 1919 in Paris and then spent 1920 in Copenhagen, Stockholm and London. Between 1921 and 1922, Israels and his friend Jan Veth went to Java and Bali after befriending many East Indians during the war. Israels was enraptured by the landscape and people whom he encountered in South East Asia. He sketched the household of the local ruler at Solo, and produced numerous watercolours and oil paintings of Balinese women, Chinese weddings, dancing girls, bands, beggars and children. Upon his return, Israels spent the greater part of 1923 in The Hague where he took over his father’s studio. During this time, his focus returned to theatre-life and portraits. Israels received significant awards for his artistic achievements including a knighthood in 1925 and an Olympic Award for Art three years later.