Isaac Israels was born in 1865 into an Orthodox Jewish family in Amsterdam. In 1871 the family moved to The Hague, where his father Jozef Israels (1824-1911) was already a well-respected painter. There were always many artists and art lovers in the house of the Israels family. Max Liebermann (1847-1935) for example, was a close friend of the family.
Israels also showed a remarkable talent for drawing at an early age and started as an artist in The Hague. It was not long until his portraits, which were painted in an impressionistic style similar to his father's, were held in high esteem. However, the young Israels did not want to follow in his father's footsteps and returned to Amsterdam in 1887. His goal was simple: to develop his unique, painterly voice. To record an impression in an exceptionally quick manner, Israels found that it was not minute details and perfection that were most important but rather capturing the essence of the subject. This was a typical idea of the Amsterdam Impressionists, in contrast to the French Impressionists, to whom an extremely important part of their work was a detailed portrayal of light, sun and colour effects.
A remarkable observer, Israels held a life-long fascination for the pulsing life in the streets, cafes, theatres and fashion houses. He could also be found spending time with his father and his close friend Max Liebermann in their house on the beach in Scheveningen. Here he was inspired by the beauty and excitement of life at the beach. He painted many beach scenes: bathing women, children playing, elegant people riding on donkeys, etc. Furthermore, he was active in Paris, where he painted many typical Parisian scenes, such as the elegant Bois de Boulogne, the cafes, bistros and circus acrobats.
Born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on February 3rd, 1865
Died in The Hague, The Netherlands on October 7th, 1934