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The Last Breath

Jozef Israëls, Dutch (active The Hague, Amsterdam, and Paris), 1824 - 1911
The difficult life of fisherfolk drew artists to the seaside in search of elemental human stories. They found tales of suffering and courage in poor communities that seemed to have escaped the artifices of the modern world. Jozef Israëls set an international example with his emotional depiction of the cycle of work and death in the villages of Holland. With fishing nets and a Bible nearby, a woman throws herself over the pale body of a man in a traditional Dutch bed; an older woman tends two children too small to understand the misfortune that has befallen the family....

Object Details
James Staats Forbes (1823-1904), London [1]. Charles Custis Harrison (1844-1929), Philadelphia; his estate, placed on loan to the Pennsylvania Museum in 1929 [2]; by inheritance to his daughter Ellen Harrison McMichael; gift to PMA, 1942.1. According to a label on the back of the painting, it was no. 12 in the Forbes collection. It was reportedly exhibited at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893 and may appear in two exhibitions of Forbes' collection in London following his death. Forbes' collection was sold in six sales between 1905 and 1919.2. For the 1929 loan see The Pennsylvania Museum Bulletin, November 1929, vol. 25, p. 30. Cards in the registrar's office indicate that it was also here in 1936 and 1939.

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