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LOT 79

Isaac Israels (1865-1934), Two girlfriends

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Isaac Israels (1865-1934)

Two girlfriends

signed with the artist's studio stamp 'Atelier Isaac Israels' (lower right)

oil on canvas, 111x86 cm

Exhibited:-The Hague, Eva van Voorst van Beest Gallery, ‘G.H. Breitner (1857-1923) Isaac Israels (1865-1934)’, 21 September-16 November 2008, in exhibition brochure ill. p. 21, as: 'final painting'.Provenance:-Collection of the artist; The artist's studio sale, Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, ‘Atelier Isaac Israels (IIième partie)', 10-11 December 1935, lot 151, as: ‘Twee vriendinnen'.-In the collection of the family of the present owner since at least the 1960s.

Isaac Israels painted many portraits throughout his life: sometimes these were commissioned portraits of directors of firms in The Hague or actresses like Fie Carelsen, but most often, his friends and girlfriends were his beloved subjects. Well-known portraits include those of Mata Hari, the collector Simon Pinkhof, a young Kees van Dongen, a semi-nude woman positioned in front of Vincent van Gogh's 'Sunflowers', and his girlfriend Sofie de Vries. Later in Scheveningen, he portrayed the promenading ladies on the beach or the Wandelhoofd Koningin Wilhelmina (the Pier) and the fisherwomen. Finally, in Paris, he showed the ladies seated at tables in entertainment venues such as the Moulin de la Galette and Bal Tabarin.This portrait of two girlfriends is sketched very loosely. Isaac Israels quickly painted a whitish background onto which he could capture these two ladies. He did this directly on the wet canvas, without first sketching the outline with pencil. The woman in the foreground is more detailed than her friend: her face, blouse with a red collar, white shawl, and gray skirt are clearly visible. Her arms and hands - one on her skirt, one on her hip - still needed work. Her friend, who stands in her shadow, literally and figuratively, could use some refinement too: a figure whose facial features are only just discernible, wearing a gray dress with a white collar. Her arms disappear into nothingness. Who are these girlfriends? Perhaps they are two shop assistants from Maison Wijnman, the fabric store on the Venestraat, where Israels liked to come and sketch towards the end of his life, to later develop those impressions in his studio.When Isaac Israels died in his house on Koninginnegracht (October 7, 1934), a few days after being hit by a car, there were still many canvases on easels in his studio, more canvases against the walls, many pastels and watercolors in large folders, sketchbooks in drawers. His sister, Mathilde Cohen Tervaert-Israels, was his sole heir. A painter only signed his work when a canvas went to an art dealer for sale, so the question arose: what to do with all these unsigned works? Together with the director of the Gemeentemuseum, H.E. van Gelder, and a notary, an atelier stamp was designed, an oval model with the text 'Atelier Isaac Israels'. The stamp was used with red ink on the many paintings, watercolours, and pastels to authenticate all of this.The ‘Two girlfriends’ we present in this auction provide a beautiful snapshot of the time and shows the layout of a painting as Isaac Israels envisioned it. Whether it is truly his last painting does not really matter. It is touching to consider what the painting might have looked like if Isaac Israels had finished it.Willemien de Vlieger-Moll, researcher and writer on the life and work of Isaac Israels.

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Time, Location
28 May 2024
Netherlands, Hague
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[ translate ]

Isaac Israels (1865-1934)

Two girlfriends

signed with the artist's studio stamp 'Atelier Isaac Israels' (lower right)

oil on canvas, 111x86 cm

Exhibited:-The Hague, Eva van Voorst van Beest Gallery, ‘G.H. Breitner (1857-1923) Isaac Israels (1865-1934)’, 21 September-16 November 2008, in exhibition brochure ill. p. 21, as: 'final painting'.Provenance:-Collection of the artist; The artist's studio sale, Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, ‘Atelier Isaac Israels (IIième partie)', 10-11 December 1935, lot 151, as: ‘Twee vriendinnen'.-In the collection of the family of the present owner since at least the 1960s.

Isaac Israels painted many portraits throughout his life: sometimes these were commissioned portraits of directors of firms in The Hague or actresses like Fie Carelsen, but most often, his friends and girlfriends were his beloved subjects. Well-known portraits include those of Mata Hari, the collector Simon Pinkhof, a young Kees van Dongen, a semi-nude woman positioned in front of Vincent van Gogh's 'Sunflowers', and his girlfriend Sofie de Vries. Later in Scheveningen, he portrayed the promenading ladies on the beach or the Wandelhoofd Koningin Wilhelmina (the Pier) and the fisherwomen. Finally, in Paris, he showed the ladies seated at tables in entertainment venues such as the Moulin de la Galette and Bal Tabarin.This portrait of two girlfriends is sketched very loosely. Isaac Israels quickly painted a whitish background onto which he could capture these two ladies. He did this directly on the wet canvas, without first sketching the outline with pencil. The woman in the foreground is more detailed than her friend: her face, blouse with a red collar, white shawl, and gray skirt are clearly visible. Her arms and hands - one on her skirt, one on her hip - still needed work. Her friend, who stands in her shadow, literally and figuratively, could use some refinement too: a figure whose facial features are only just discernible, wearing a gray dress with a white collar. Her arms disappear into nothingness. Who are these girlfriends? Perhaps they are two shop assistants from Maison Wijnman, the fabric store on the Venestraat, where Israels liked to come and sketch towards the end of his life, to later develop those impressions in his studio.When Isaac Israels died in his house on Koninginnegracht (October 7, 1934), a few days after being hit by a car, there were still many canvases on easels in his studio, more canvases against the walls, many pastels and watercolors in large folders, sketchbooks in drawers. His sister, Mathilde Cohen Tervaert-Israels, was his sole heir. A painter only signed his work when a canvas went to an art dealer for sale, so the question arose: what to do with all these unsigned works? Together with the director of the Gemeentemuseum, H.E. van Gelder, and a notary, an atelier stamp was designed, an oval model with the text 'Atelier Isaac Israels'. The stamp was used with red ink on the many paintings, watercolours, and pastels to authenticate all of this.The ‘Two girlfriends’ we present in this auction provide a beautiful snapshot of the time and shows the layout of a painting as Isaac Israels envisioned it. Whether it is truly his last painting does not really matter. It is touching to consider what the painting might have looked like if Isaac Israels had finished it.Willemien de Vlieger-Moll, researcher and writer on the life and work of Isaac Israels.

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Sale price
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Estimate
Unlock
Time, Location
28 May 2024
Netherlands, Hague
Auction House
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