Jozef Israels (1824-1911)

Age and Infancy (Army and Navy)

Lot 209 / Sale 2391
age and infancy (army and navy)

Price Realized f.172,980
Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

  • f.150,000 - f.200,000
  • ($80,334 - $107,112)

Sale Information Sale 2391
19th Century European Pictures, Watercolours and Drawings
27 October 1998

Lot Description Jozef Israels (1824-1911)
Age and Infancy (Army and Navy)
signed lower right Jozef Israels
oil on canvas laid down on panel
103 x 84 cm
painted in 1872.

Provenance John Dick Peddie, Edinborough, Scotland (by whom commissioned in 1872). Anon. Sale, Christie's, 15 June 1889, lot 102.
Goupil & Cie, London, 1889.
Sir George A. Drummond, Montreal, 1898.
Barbizon House, London 1898.
Sir George A. Drummond, Sale Christie's, 26 June 1919, lot 51( £ 5040 to Wallis & Son/The French Gallery, London).
James H. Clarke, Philadelphia.
Sale Mrs Helen B. Clarke; Sotheby's Park Bernett New York, 15 October 1976, lot 65.
Leslie Smith Gallery, Wassenaar, The Netherlands.
Private collection, Laren, The Netherlands.
Sold in these rooms, 20 October 1980, lot 541.

Literature "Exhibition of the Royal Academy", The illustrated London News, (1872) vol. I, p. 486.
"The Royal Academy; 104th Exhibition", The Art Journal, (1872), p. 184.
"The Royal Academy", The Atheneum, May 1874, p. 661 ("There is abundance of humour, chiaroscuro, and character in this fine work"). The Art Journal, 1889, p. 304.
The Standard, 9 May 1912.
The Queen, 8 June 1912.
The Times, 15 June 1912.
H.E. van Gelder (Palet serie), Jozef Israels, Amsterdam 1947, p. 34, llus. p. 27.
Max Eisler, Josef Israels, London 1924, fig XXIII.
Christie's Review of the season 1981, London 1981, col. ill. p. 451.
Janet M. Brooke, Discerning Tastes. Montreal Collections 1880-1920, Montreal, 1989-1990, p. 103, illus.
Dieuwertje Dekkers, Jozef Israels, een succesvol schilder van het vissersgenre, The Hague 1994 (thesis U.v.A., 1994), pp. 267-270, cat. no. 16 (illus.).

Exhibited London, Royal Academy, 1872, no. 973 (as 'Age and Infancy').
Edinborough, Royal Scottish Academy, 1873, no. 305 (as 'Age and Infancy').
Montreal, Art Association of Montreal, 1898, no. 40 (as 'A Fisherman's Cottage').
Montreal, Art Association of Montreal, 1901, no. 8 (as 'Interior of a Fisherman's Cottage').
New York, Society of Art Collectors, 1904, no. 87 (as 'The Fisherman's Cottage').
Montreal, Art Association of Montreal, 1912, no. 76 (as 'Army and Navy').
London, French Gallery, Pictures by the late Jozef Israels, 1912, no. 16 (illus.) (as 'Army and Navy').
Montreal, Art Association of Montreal, Paintings from the collection of the late Sir George A. Drummond, 1918, no. 35.
London, The Barbizon House, The Drummond Collection: List of a Small Selection from the Principal Pictures of the Late Sir George A. Drummond, K.C.M.G. of Montreal, 1919, cat. no. 11.

Lot Notes Dieuwertje Dekkers pleads that Army and Navy is synonymous with 'prank', a description for the present lot used by Jozef Israels in a letter to the Scottish painter George Reid: "I should have finished already Peddies Prank but clouds over clouds are hanging before my window". And a few days later: "It is impossible to bring The Poor of the Village upon the now coming royal academy but I try to make my masterpiece from Prank and will send it there it is not a great work but I have thought that a small fine is better then a superficial big". A good month later: "I have the pleasure to inform you that I have written to Mr. Dick Peddie that I have send him a case containing two pictures the one is prank and the other the landscape" (autograph letters to George Reid, dated 5 January 1872, 11 January 1872 and 19 February 1872, Aberdeen Art Galery).
In spite of the (illogical) literal translation one can assume that 'prank' is the same as the present lot. The fact that Van Gelder has dated the work 1872 supports the above thesis.

In Holland, Israels achieved early success with Past Mother's Grave (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam) which was purchased in 1856 by Amsterdam's Royal Academy. International fame came when Shipwrecked Fisherman(National Gallery London) attracted much attention at the Paris Salon of 1861 and was equally well received at the International Exhibition of 1862 in London.

Contemporaries have too often compared Israels with Rembrandt. In connection with the exhibition at the French Gallery the Times wrote: "One feels that the subject is exploited for the sake of pleasure it will give, and not treated with the complete and inconsious seriousness of a Rembrandt". The critic felt that Israels' immense populairity lay hidden in the fact, that he made an appeal to the sentiment, but that he was a much better artist then most 'sentimental' painters.

As a result of Israels' heightened activity in the official exhibition circuit in London in the first half of the 1870s, and the fact that his masterpieces were acquired by renowed collectors as James Staats Forbes and Alexander Young, the artist's work could regularly be viewed at several of London's important Art Galleries.

The Hague branche of Goupil's was to become his most important agent. The sales through Goupil turned Jozef Israels, together with Jacob Maris, into the best paid Dutch artists of the last decades of the 19th century.

To be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisnné being prepared by Dieuwertje Dekkers.

The prospective buyer is kindly requested to loan the present lot to the forthcoming combined exhibition on Jozef Israels in the Groninger Museum, Groningen, and the Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam, in December 1999.

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