It was only around 1890 that the son of the renowned nestor of the Hague School Jozef Israëls (1824-1911), Isaac Israels discovered his own style. Together with his study friend George Hendrik Breitner they would become the leading members of a new movement of Dutch Impressionism inspired by the bustling city life of Amsterdam. Isaac would be remembered as the Dutch impressionist who was equal to most of his French contemporaries. In 1887 he moved from The Hague to Amsterdam, where he was quickly accepted by the circle of the Eighties Movement ('de Tachtigers'), a group of likeminded, progressive artists and writers. Together with one of his new friends, the essayist Frans Erens (1857-1935), he became acquainted with the artistic currents of his time as well as with several French celebrities in Paris in 1889. Back in Amsterdam in October of the same year, he was granted a license to place his easel on the streets in order to study the busy city life en plein air. Israels sought direct engagement with his subjects in numerous sketches. During the following years he would mainly sketch and paint outdoors. His swiftly rendered street scenes, parks, night cafes, dressing rooms and theatre scenes and more form a unique contribution to the development of the art of his day, as being truly modern in subject matter and style.
The present lot was painted just after he came back from Paris. It depicts a birds-eye view of the Haarlemmersluis seen from the Haarlemmerstraat with to the left the Prins Hendrikkade and to the right the Nieuwendijk. In the present lot Israels reveals himself as a sharp observer of human pose and city life, with a few sweeps of his virtuous brush he is able to capture the essence of a quickly passing moment from people going about their daily business in the streets of Amsterdam. The kiosk in the foreground also served as a place where people could reflect on advertisements and rooms for rent and the house on the corner, Nieuwendijk 2, shows an advertisement for Van den Toorn's Lemonade ('Vraagt van Toorns Limonade Gazeuse, 72 Rozengracht 72').