Jozef Israëls

Jozef Israëls
27.01.1824 (Groningen, The Netherlands) - 21.08.1911 (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Nationality: Dutch


Jozef Israëls was born in 1824 in Groningen into a Jewish family and had a remarkable talent for painting and drawing from a young age. He received his first drawing lessons at the age of 11 and moved to Amsterdam in 1840, to study under the great master of that time, Jan Adam Kruseman. Israëls moved to Paris in 1845, where he enrolled at the Academie des Beaux-Arts. His work became enormously popular and his paintings were among the best-selling Dutch works of art of that time. In 1871 he moved to The Hague, which was a meeting place for artists like Weissenbruch, Maris and Mauve. Together they formed the well-known "Hague School." Israëls is considered one of the most popular painters of this movement. In his time he was regarded as a second Rembrandt. Israëls started out painting mostly romantic historical pieces. However the high point of his fame was acquired with the realistic and sincere depictions of fisherman and their families. Israëls painted these from the mid-fifties onwards. His interest in the fishing genre aroused in 1855, when he stayed in the fishing village, Zandvoort. Israëls discovered that the harsh and simple life of the fishermen had far more meaning to him than the elevated historical subject he had painted until then. History and Jewish life were also important themes in his work. Israëls inspired many artists. For instance, Vincent van Gogh was a great admirer of Israëls and we continually see many of Israëls’ themes reflected in Van Gogh’s works. According to letters sent by Van Gogh to his brother Theo, it was Israëls who inspired Van Gogh to paint his masterful Aardappeleters (Potato Eaters). The Potato Eaters by Israëls is a famous work of his and it is this piece that inspired Van Gogh to make his now famous version of the Potato Eaters.  

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view work by Jozef Israëls

The Frugal Meal (The “Aardappeleters”)

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