Children in the Park
signed 'Isaac/Israels' (lower right)
pastel on paper
14 x 2014 in. (35.6 x 51.4 cm.)
Private collection, Long Island, NY, acquired circa 1950.
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner.
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Lot Essay

Born into an artistic family, Isaac Israëls entered art school at the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague at the age of 13. In 1886, he enrolled in Amsterdam’s Rijksacademie, where he was considered to be ‘too good’. At the Rijksacademie, he made the acquaintance of fellow student George Hendrik Breitner and the two artists began a lifelong friendship. Israëls often spent the summers with his father at the beach in Scheveningen, and while in Amsterdam he spent time in the company of Breitner. Together with Breitner, Israëls is considered to be the Dutch Impressionist who was equal to his French contemporaries.
In 1894, Israëls was granted a license to place his easel on the street in order to study busy modern life en plein air and a majority of his oeuvre is dedicated to the fashionable life of the avenues, beaches and parks of his homeland. Israëls’s studio was located at Oosterpark 93, and it is likely that the scene depicted is inspired by the children, nannies and fashionable figures who frequented the elegant park on summer afternoons. The present lot exhibits all the hallmarks of Israëls’s oeuvre; the use of light, pastel colors capturing the effect of dappled sunlight on both landscape and figures, the deft use of the pastel and the underlying strength and spontaneity of draftsmanship. The children lined up on the bench placed at a diagonal draws the eye of the viewer deeper into the park and small touches of pink and white emphasize the effects of sunlight on various surfaces. The overall effect is one of the warmth of a sunny, summer afternoon in Amsterdam.

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