Isaac Israëls visited Paris regularly from childhood on. His father Jozef exhibited at the annual Paris Salon from as early as 1857. The city was the artistic capital of the world and Isaac’s visits to it were exciting. In 1882 he made his own debut at the Paris Salon with Military funeral, which got a good write-up in Le Figaro, then the leading French newspaper. Throughout his life, Isaac was to return regularly to Paris and around 1904 he settled there for a decade. During that period, he found subjects for his paintings in and around the illustrious Rue de la Paix, in the famous Jardin des Tuileries and at entertainment venues like the Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre. His portraits of elegant women in hats posing on balconies of chic hotels in Rue Castiglione are now among his most prized paintings. Girl reading was also painted at this time. Using rapid brushwork, Israëls has successfully captured the girl’s elegant appearance without losing sight of the individuality of her facial features.
Source: J. Sillevis (ed.), Jozef en Isaac Israëls, vader & zoon, Den Haag, Zwolle 2008.