Musée No:318.026Regular price £25.00
Portrait of a Woman
Artist: Isaac Israels
Isaac Lazarus Israels (1865 –1934) was a Dutch painter associated with the Amsterdam Impressionism movement. He signed up for the Royal Academy of Visual Arts but abandoned it quite quickly in favour of the more progressive circle of the Tachtigers, an influential group of writers and artists of the time. Influenced by their philosophy, he became a painter of the streets, cafes, and cabarets of Amsterdam. He spent summers with his father, in the Dutch seaside resort of Scheveningen, where guests included Édouard Manet. Interested by the changing light of sun and sea, he painted many colourful seaside scenes. At the end of the 1800s, he was introduced to the world of haute couture, painting all aspects from seamstress to wealthy client. He moved to Paris in 1904, establishing his studio just yards away from Toulouse-Lautrec whom he admired, along with Edgar Degas. He painted Parisian specific street scenes and also fairgrounds, circus acrobats and the world of fashion. When the World War I broke out he was living in London, his work including horse-riding, ballerinas and boxers. He returned to Holland for the duration of the war, living primarily as a portrait painter. Amongst his sitters was the daring spy Mata Hari. Post war, Israëls visited Paris, Copenhagen, Stockholm and London. Also travelling in India and the Dutch East Indies, sketching and painting the vibrant life of South East Asia.
Random fact to finish: aged 63, he won a Gold Medal at the 1928 Olympic Games for his painting Red Rider, I promise it’s true, at the time an art competition was part of the games.
The name of this engaging sitter is a mystery, she will forever be ‘Portrait of a Woman’. I did go and check the Kröller-Müller Museum website that exhibits the Mata Hari portrait just in case, but I don’t think it’s her.