Jozef Israëls (1824-1911)
Jozef Israëls (1824-1911)

Jour de repos: the card players

Jozef Israëls (1824-1911)
Jour de repos: the card players
signed 'Jozef Israels' (lower left)
oil on canvas
136 x 187 cm.
Painted in 1876.
Mr. F.H.M. Post, The Hague, by 1876; his sale, Amsterdam, 14 April 1891, lot 40 (Dfl. 13.100), as: Jour de repos.
(Possibly) with Kunsthandel A. Preyer, Amsterdam/The Hague (according to the RKD), by 1891.
Mr. Pieter Langerhuizen, Crailoo, 1891-1918; his sale, Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, 29 October 1918, lot 49 (Dfl. 21.500), as: Jour de repos.
with Kunsthandel Buffa & Zonen, Amsterdam, 1918, as: Zorg en verstrooiing.
Mr. W.F. van Heukelom; his sale, Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, 12 October 1937, lot 17 (Dfl. 41.000), as: Une heure reposante.
Mr. van Beveren, 1937.
Mr. J. Lierens, Amsterdam; his sale, Frederik Muller, Amsterdam, 8 October 1949, lot 4 (Dfl. 5.000).
C. Vosmaer, Josef Israels, The Hague, 1881, p. 5, as: De spelers.
N.H. Wolff, De kunst: een algemeen geïllustreerd en artistiek weekblad, 1911.
Dieuwertje Dekkers, Jozef Israels: een succesvol schilder van het vissersgenre, Utrecht, 1994, pp. 151, 170, C224, 437, no. 8a, as: De kaartspelers.
Dieuwertje Dekkers, "Where are the Dutchmen?" Promoting the Hague School in America 1875-1900', in: Simiolus, 24 (1996) I, p. 62, as: The players.
Dieuwertje Dekkers, Jozef Israels 1824-1911, Zwolle, 1999, pp. 194-195, no. 33, as: De kaartspelers (where dated 1876).
Philadelphia, Memorial Hall, International exhibition, 10 May-10 November, 1876, no. 6, (no. 47a), as: The Card-Players.
(Possibly) London, Goupil, 1878.
Amsterdam, Arti et Amicitiae, Retrospective Tentoonstelling, Ter gelegenheid van het 70-jarig bestaan van de Maatschappij, 1909, no. 59.
Venice, Biennale, IX Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della citta di Venezia, 22 April-31 October 1910, no. 6, as: I giuocatori.
The Hague, Pulchri Studio, Eeretentoonstelling Jozef Israels, December 1911-January 1912, no. 40, as: De spelers.
Eindhoven, Museum Kempenland, Verborgen kostelijkheden in de regio; een keuze uit particulier bezit, April-May 1986, no. 74.
Groningen, Groninger Museum, Jozef Israels, Meester van het Sentiment, 19 December 1999-5 March 2000, no. 33, as: De kaartspelers.

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Irena Okoelskaja
Irena Okoelskaja

Lot Essay

As one of leading figures of The Hague School and one of the most celebrated Dutch painters of his time, Jozef Israels was of high importance to changes in style and subject in Dutch 19th century painting. He was celebrated for his sentimental style and realistic themes from the earliest days of his career. In Holland as well as abroad, he was regarded as one of the pioneers of realism, expressing himself in large genre paintings depicting events in the lives of peasants and fisher folk, like in the present lot. He realized that the hard, simple life of farmers and fishermen had far more meaning to him than the elevated historical subjects he painted up till then. In 1856 Israels achieved his first success with Past Mother’s Grave (Collection Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam), which was purchased by the Royal Academy of Amsterdam. International fame came when Shipwrecked Fisherman (Collection National Gallery, London) attracted much attention at the Salon of 1861 in Paris and the international exhibition of 1862 in London.

Israels' new subject matter proved to be successful. His humble scenes of peasants and fishermen were greeted with enthusiasm by progressive as well as conservative critics. Theophile Thore-Burger (1807-1869), reviewing the Paris World Fair of 1867, called him one of the most talented painters of his time, praising his quest for 'truth' and 'naturalness'. Israels' contemplative approach and humble subjects also earned praise of contemporary painters, such as Vincent van Gogh, who was a strong admirer of his work. The artist send the present lot to the important International Exhibition in Philadelphia, in the Memorial Hall in the spring of 1876 and sold in the same year to The Hague collector Mr. F.H.M. Post.

The present spectacular painting depicts an interior with several card players and a mother and child. The subject of ‘card games’ has a long tradition in art history and was especially popular in the seventeenth century with celebrated genre painters like David Teniers II (1610-1690) and Adriaen Brouwer (1605-1638). During the 19th century the theme was revived by many painters who found their inspiration in the Golden Age. They depicted anecdotic card games where players became inebriated and prone to deception. However, Israels chose to focus on the social aspect of these card games and the impact they had on the family of the players. The dark tones and raw brushstrokes strengthen the sentimental mood and dramatizes the subject. It is an expression of Israels vision of an existential acceptance of the circumstances of life, however bitter. The people in these paintings are entirely at one with their surroundings, every nuance of light and every detail contributing to the total effect.

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