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Dutch-Jewish painter Isaac Israëls was the son of distinguished Hague School artist Jozef Israëls and studied at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and the State Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam.
At the age of sixteen Isaac sold his first painting to the famous Dutch collector Hendrik Willem Mesdag and began to exhibit with his father at the official Salon des Artistes Francais in Paris. He enjoyed spending summers with his father at the seaside resort of Scheveningen near The Hague where his father’s guests often included Édouard Manet. Influenced by the work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Edgar Degas, and a lifelong friend of the Impressionist painter George Hendrik Breitner with whom he lived and painted the streets of Amsterdam, Isaac became associated with the Dutch avant-garde Tachtigers group of artists and writers.
Living in Paris and London during the Edwardian period, Israëls returned to The Netherlands during the First World War and primarily became a portraitist. One of his most famous sitters was the famous Dutch-German courtesan and spy, Mata Hari (executed in France in 1917), now held at the Kröller-Müller Museum at Otterlo in The Netherlands
Israëls travelled widely across Europe, India and South East Asian during the 1920s and 1930s. Notable are the sketches he produced of Balinese gamelan players in the former Dutch East Indies. He even won the Gold Medal in the 1928 Olympic Games for his painting Red Rider. His paintings and sketches, held in several international private collections, were most recently showcased in an acclaimed 2012 exhibition at the City Archive of Amsterdam.