J. (JOZEF) ISRAELS
1824 Groningen - 1911 Den Haag
Jozef Israels derived his greatest fame as a painter of beach scenes and themes from the lives of Scheveningen, Katwijk and Zandvoort fishermen. Here the emotional aspects of the harsh fishing life are especially central. His life spanned nearly a century. Jozef Israëls began painting when he was eleven. His art gently changed with the century to finally use the looser touch like that of his son Isaac. Born in Groningen, Jozef was raised in a traditional Jewish family. His parents wanted him to become a rabbi, but at an early age his talent for drawing became apparent. After studying at the Academy in Amsterdam, Jozef briefly left for Paris, where he learned about Ary Scheffer and Romanticism, Jongkind and the Barbizon painters, among others. Despite his training, Israels did not become a history painter. Recovering from an illness brought Israels to Zandvoort where he saw the often wretched conditions in which fishermen and their families lived. Painting grief, sorrow, anxious waiting, vigilance, parenthood; in short, the great emotions surrounded by dunes and sea, rendered in a sober and subdued manner. Later in his life he also devoted himself to painting Jewish scenes. From 1871 until his death, Jozef Israels lived and worked in The Hague. There he became close friends with H.W. Mesdag with whom he founded several drawing and painting societies like the The Hague School. In 1865, his son Isaac was born and trained until his departure for Amsterdam 20 years later. Father and son Israels traveled throughout Europe, which is documented in their travel stories and drawings. Jozef Israels' work is internationally known and can be found in major museums and private collections.