Dutch genre painter, the head of realistic Hague school of painting.
Came from a Jewish family.
He studied with J. A. Kruseman in Amsterdam, then in F.-E. Picot in Paris; initially devoted himself to historical painting, but later switched to genre painting, mostly depicting family life of the Dutch and the life of seafarers.
His most interesting work: "a convalescent mother", "Poor villages", "Sick", "Alone in the world".
The son of Joseph, Isaac, also became a genre painter.
Growing up in a religious family, was preparing to become a Rabbi, but became fascinated with art and the success of his first paintings "Jew" and "Seller tubes" bowed in 1840, father Israels to send him to Amsterdam to study painting. There Israels studied with J. A. Kruseman and at the Academy of arts, and in 1845 in Paris under P. Delaroche and O. Bern. Was strongly influenced by artists of the Barbizon school. In 1847 he returned to Amsterdam where he painted portraits, historical paintings, including Jewish themes ("Saul and David"), genre scenes, often of Jewish life ("the Jewish marriage"). Sought to synthesize the achievements of the Barbizon school in colors of nature with the effects of light and shade of Rembrandt, following a contemplative intimacy against the Dutch genre painters of the 17th century to the object image. In 1855 he lived in the fishing village of Zandvoort, and then with deep sympathy and subtle psychological portrayed fishermen and peasants. In 1871 he settled in the Hague where there was a range of realist artists with Israelson at the head, called the Hague school. Almost devoid of the action paintings of Israels often dramatic in mood ("One in the world", 1876, the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; "Sad thought", 1896, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam). A kind of generalized way galutnogo (see Galut) Jews became the figure of the old trader from the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam in the picture of Israeli "the Son of the ancient people" (1889, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam).