At the beginning of the Twentieth Century Scheveningen was an important source of inspiration to the Dutch Impressionist Isaac Israels. Isaac would spend days on end with his easel on the picturesque boulevard, the beach or on one of the many terraces of the luxurious hotels along the coast. In 1885 the grand Kurhaus was built and it immediately became one of Isaac's favourite spots. His affection for this development is revealed in a letter from 1898, written at the end of the bathing season: 'Vanavond was 't sluiting van 't Kurhaus; ik was erg aangedaan, en ik vond die muziek en alles ineens zoo mooi! Al die beste brave Hollanders bij 't Wilhelmus- 't is toch plezierig als je daar ook bij hoort! (see: Antoon Erftemeijer, Israels aan zee; Hollandse en Italiaanse strandtaferelen van Isaac Israels, Haarlem 2007, p. 14).
When in 1901 the 372 meter long pier, originally named 'Wandelhoofd Koningin Wilhelmina', was constructed, Isaac started using it as a compositional element in several of his paintings. In the present lot Isaac uses the pier with promenading visitors as a background that creates depth and perspective in the painting. The 'Rotonde', the octagonal building at the end of the Pier, has a prominent role in the painting. Over 1200 guests could eat, drink and enjoy a matinee or evening concert here.
The pretty young lady has just reached the top of some steps and is about to cross the boulevard towards the Kurhaus. One of the two little oriental towers that decorate the top of the stairs is shown behind her. On her right, one can see the famous high cane chairs called 'strandkorven' which were used by bathers. These chairs originated in the Seventeenth Century, but in the shape depicted here by Israels, they were developed and produced by the German firm Wilhelm Bartelmann in the 1880's.
The modern clothing worn by the young woman discloses the extent to which Isaac was interested in contemporary fashion, a recurring theme within his overall oeuvre. We can date the present painting to around 1914, based on the young woman's dress. After 1910 dresses no longer reached beyond the ankles. But they were not yet as short as they would become in 1920. This pretty white dress is somewhere between these two lengths, just showing the ladies feet, which is typical for the period 1914-1915. Dresses like these were often worn by young girls and ladies at evening parties, but apparently also during walks along the beach. Although for these occasions it is probable that garments of slightly inferior quality were used. Also the lady's purse, decorated with fringes, is characteristic for this period.
It is interesting to note that in the archives of the RKD in The Hague, a strikingly similar composition is recorded. The model is dressed differently but is identified here as the cabaretiere Lola Cornero.
Isaac has in the present lot captured a sense of modernity with great flair. Using brisk, confident brushstrokes Isaac has created a very lively composition that is full of movement, showing that he is a perceptive chronicler of the vibrant early Twentieth Century.
We wish to thank Jenny Jacobs of the Modemuseum in Hasselt for her help in cataloguing this lot.