Painter Jozef Israëls was born in 1824 to a Jewish family living in Groningen, The Netherlands and became the best-known nineteenth-century Dutch painter of scenes of peasant life. Although his father wanted him to be a businessman, he was eventually allowed to study art and trained at the Minerva Academy in Groningen from 1835-42, with Jan Adam Kruseman, and then at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam under Jan Willem Pieneman. From 1845 to 1847, he lived and worked in Paris as an apprentice in the studio of history painter Francois-Edouard Picot, and as a student at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, under Horace Vernet and Paul Delaroche. His early work was inspired by the later paintings of Rembrandt, as well as that of his teachers. He also visited Germany, studying the German Romantic artists. He returned to Holland in 1847, but in 1855, while recuperating from an illness in Zandvoort, he was inspired by the local fishing community. Shortly after, he transitioned from portrait and history paintings to his best-known subject matter: genre scenes of rural labourers, which invoked comparison with the work of Jean-Francois Millet. Israëls also painted scenes of Jewish life in the Dutch ghettos. In 1870 Israëls moved from Amsterdam to The Hague; popular among both critics and artists (including the young Vincent van Gogh), he became the best-known member of the Hague School of painters, gaining an international reputation and exhibiting in Paris and London, as well as in Holland. He won the Grand Prix in both the 1889 and 1900 Expositions Universelles in Paris, was awarded the Cross of the Legion d’Honneur in 1867, and was later made a Commander. He died in The Hague in 1911. His work is in collections worldwide including the Mesdag collection in the Hague; the Van Gogh Museum, and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Dordrecht Gallery, South Holland; and the Aberdeen Art Gallery, the Ashmolean, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Glasgow museum, Museums Sheffield, and the National Gallery, London.