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he became an innovator in art, and though not the first to break with the past, coming as he did after Bosboom, he yet has been the greatest force in dethroning in his own country the historical and romantic views and theories about painting that prevailed there; a man of very sociable habits, he is a good friend and agreeable companion, and is thought so highly of by his fellow artists that he is usually their representative in art matters and the chief speaker at their entertainments.
Israels was born in 1824. He first studied at Groningen, and in 1840 went to Amsterdam, where he was much impressed with that large city and especially with the life in the Jews' quarter. Then, having saved a small sum of money, he went for two years to Paris, but he derived little benefit from the schools there. On his return to Holland he made a new departure on his own account and, leaving the historical subjects which he chose at first, commenced to paint the scenes around him, not looking for pretty things so much as trying to express the inner spirit of the lives of the people. He was the first to give
life and vigour to figures, trying to paint them in a way that would reveal their thoughts and feelings, and he brought into his pictures new ideas of light and colour. Like most innovators, he was laughed at, but he persevered in his own way, and he has now the satisfaction of seeing his ideas and opinions about art prevailing and gaining general acceptance, and his paintings admired and highly valued.
Israels painted in rich, deep colours in his early and middle period. His pictures in recent years, owing to their breadth of treatment, and his desire to secure what he considers the essentials, are in lower tones. Each period of his work has qualities peculiar to itself, and they cannot be found together. The lover of brilliant colour, careful drawing, and attention to detail will not find these in his late work, but in their place more atmosphere, more life, more feeling, wider and truer knowledge, perhaps really greater art. Certainly it was Israels' opinion, as he grew older, as it was that of Constable, Turner, Corot, James Maris, and Mauve, that greater freedom from
the trammels of accurate realistic drawing than they had at first imagined, was necessary to enable the artist to thoroughly express
A critic has drawn attention to the fact Israels
’ Art that Israels is not a master draughtsman nor from an Analytical a distinguished colourist, and that he has not Viewpoint." Frederick
a sense of beauty, simply as such, and that W. Morton. decorative treatment does not appeal to him:
but he goes on to say, “Yet by an interpretative sense and a power peculiarly his own he has made himself the central figure in his nation's art. It is a supreme tribute to his genius that the artist should be able to dispense with so many of the elements of popularity and power on which other men are accustomed to rely, and still have his canvases so grandly impressive, so wonderful in their simple appeal.” Surely this critic has answered himself. It is this very appeal to the feelings of the audience to which he is speaking through his pictures that he is anxious to secure; this impressive personal sympathy of his own with the scenes he paints that he unconsciously reveals. If a certain amount of apparent