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Josef Israels, Jozef Israëls


The Madonna of Drenthe Print by Jozef Israels

The Madonna of Drenthe

Children of the Sea Print by Jozef Israels

Children of the Sea

Dreams. Dolce far niente Print by Jozef Israels

Dreams. Dolce far niente

David Print by Jozef Israels


Saul Print by Jozef Israels


Jewish Wedding Print by Jozef Israels

Jewish Wedding

Neighborly Gossip Print by Jozef Israels

Neighborly Gossip

The Little Seamstress Print by Jozef Israels

The Little Seamstress

Alone in the World Print by Jozef Israels

Alone in the World

The Seamstress Print by Jozef Israels

The Seamstress

The Chess Players Print by Jozef Israels

The Chess Players

Melancholy Print by Jozef Israels


Knitting by the Window Print by Jozef Israels

Knitting by the Window

Jozef Israels

An Old Man writing by Candlelight

Jozef Israels

Fishermen carrying a Drowned Man

Jozef Israels

If one has grown old


Jozef Israels

Coffee drinking womanJozef Israels

Jozef Israëls (27 January 1824 – 12 August 1911) was a Dutch painter, and "the most respected Dutch artist of the second half of the nineteenth century".[1]


He was born in Groningen, of Jewish parents. His father, Hartog Abraham Israëls, intended for him to be a businessman, and it was only after a determined struggle that he was allowed to enter on an artistic career. However, the attempts he made under the guidance of two second-rate painters in his native town Buys and van Wicheren while still working under his father as a stock-broker's clerk, led to his being sent to Amsterdam, where he became a pupil of Jan Kruseman and attended the drawing class at the academy. He then spent two years in Paris, working in Picot's studio, and returned to Amsterdam. There he remained till 1870, when he moved to The Hague for good,[2] where he became part of the Hague School of painters. He married Aleida Schaap and the couple had two children, a daughter Mathilde Anna Israëls and a son, Isaac Lazarus Israëls, born Amsterdam 3 Febr. 1865, who also became a fine art painter.

Israëls has often been compared to Jean-François Millet. As artists, even more than as painters in the strict sense of the word, they both, in fact, saw in the life of the poor and humble a motive for expressing with peculiar intensity their wide human sympathy; but Millet was the poet of placid rural life, while in almost all Israëls' pictures there is some piercing note of woe. Edmond Duranty said of them that they were painted with gloom and suffering.[2]

He began with historical and dramatic subjects in the romantic style of the day. By chance, after an illness, he went to recruit his strength at the fishing-town of Zandvoort near Haarlem, and there he was struck by the daily tragedy of life. Thenceforth he was possessed by a new vein of artistic expression, sincerely realistic, full of emotion and pity.[2]

Among his more important subsequent works are The Zandvoort Fisherman (in the Amsterdam gallery), The Silent House (which gained a gold medal at the Brussels Salon, 1858) and Village Poor (a prize at Manchester).[2]

In 1862 he achieved great success in London with his Shipwrecked, purchased by Mr Young, and The Cradle, two pictures that the Athenaeum magazine described as the most touching pictures of the exhibition.[2] A portrait of Jozef Israëls was painted by the Scottish painter George Paul Chalmers (1833–1878).

Later work

His later works include The Widower (in the Mesdag collection), When we grow Old and Alone in the World (Van Gogh Museum / Amsterdam gallery), An Interior (Dordrecht gallery), A Frugal Meal (Glasgow museum), Toilers of the Sea, Speechless Dialogue, Between the Fields and the Seashore, The Bric-a-brac Seller (which gained medals of honour at the great Paris Exhibition of 1900).

David Singing before Saul, one of his later works, seems to hint at a return on the part of the venerable artist to the Rembrandtesque note of his youth.[3] As a watercolour painter and etcher he produced a vast number of works, which, like his oil paintings, are full of deep feeling. They are generally treated in broad masses of light and shade, which give prominence to the principal subject without any neglect of detail. Israëls probably influenced many other painters and one them was the Scottish painter Robert McGregor (1847-1922).

There is a painting by Jozef Israëls in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. His son Isaac Israëls also was a painter.

See also

Hermann Struck


Wetering, Ernst van de: Rembrandt; The Painter at Work, page 133. University of California Press, 2000.
Chisholm 1911.

In his native land, Israëls was late in life viewed as the "reincarnation of Rembrandt. In 1893, the painter and art critic Jan Veth wrote: Rembrandt's great pathos seems to be resurrected in Jozef Israëls". Wetering, pages 133-4.


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Israëls, Josef". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 885.


Jan Veth, Mannen of Betekenis: Jozef Israëls
Chesneau, Peintres français et étrangers
Philippe Zilcken, Peintres hollandais modernes (1893)
Dumas, Illustrated Biographies of Modern Artists (1882–1884)
J. de Meester, in Max Roose's Dutch Painters of the Nineteenth Century (1898)
Jozef Israëls, Spain: the Story of a Journey (1900).


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