Lot 149
Old Master Paintings, 19th Century & Early Modern Art | 26 May 2021
Isaac Israels (1865-1934)


with the artist's studio stamp 'Atelier Isaac Israels' (lower right)

oil on canvas, 80x65 cm

-Auction, Mensing&Zoon, Frederik Muller, 'Atelier Isaac Israels', Amsterdam, 2 April 1935, lot 124, as: 'Pierrette'.
-Private collection, the Netherlands.

Please compare to a similar painting, sold at Glerum Auctioneers, The Hague, 14 May 1990, lot 106, 'Colombe et Colombine'; and to another 'Pierrette' sold at Mak van Waay, 1933, lot 64.

Isaac Israels (1865-1934) was greatly inspired by the world of entertainment of the modern era. From the late 1920s’ until his death in 1934, Israels often went to the theatre where he sketched performances and artists directly from the stage or backstage. The Scala Theatre located in the Wagenstraat in The Hague was the perfect place to do so. Thanks to his friend the Dutch composer Alexander Voormolen (1895-1980), Israels received permission to work behind the scenes. There, he made a series of works of showgirls and dancers, portraying them, before, during and after their performances.

During the shows, Israels would be found imperturbably, sketching the performers, undistracted from the glamorous spectacle. Arie Mout (1900-1978), a friend of the painter shared this insight: 'The strange thing was that Isaac Israels had no understanding whatsoever of the quality or the content of the performance. When the whole hall were thoroughly enjoying the performances, he kept drawing imperturbably. What interested him was the person who stood there and his pictorial possibilities more than what that person was actually doing’. His fascination with the world of show business even persuaded him to sometimes ask the performers to pose after the show, without the distraction of the public.

Our present lot depicts a Pierrette, arms crossed in her red costume. She is wearing a black neck ruff, a satin cap embellished with a peacock feather and a couple of gold bracelets. Her smokey eyes and her red lips complete her dramatic attire. Overall, the portrait is painted with vigorous and spontaneous brushstrokes by which Israels renders onto canvas the dynamic atmosphere of the show. The sitter is portrayed half-length seated against a dark pink background, and she captivates the viewer with her piercing stare.

In his unique style, the Dutch master once again succeeds with his ‘Pierrette’ in capturing the modernity of his times.

€ 20.000,00
€ 30.000,00
€ 32.000,00

Hamerprijs: € 32.000