Jozef Israëls was born into a Jewish family in Groningen, the Netherlands. He initially studied art in his native city before furthering his training in Amsterdam and Paris. He became internationally famous.
Israëls often tackled the subject of family life. In this work, the children are sitting around the table for dinner while their mother keeps a watchful eye out the window for her husband to return home. The figures are lost in thought, and the scene conjures up a moment of quiet and stillness. Israëls was a member of the first generation of the Hague School artists. He brilliantly depicted nineteenth-century Dutch rural life, demonstrating a predilection for realistic scenes showing “fishermen, farmers and labourers.” Recently restored, this painting comes from the family collection of Frederick Angus, an important Montreal collector who acquired it in 1888, at a time when the Hague School was particularly popular in North America.