Two girls holding a basket

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Jozef Israëls enjoyed an enormous reputation at home and abroad. His favourite subject was life at sea and on and around the beach, and he relished the dramatic in his paintings, tugging at the heartstrings with such subjects as anxious mothers waiting on the shore for their sons as a storm rages at sea. This work, in contrast, is an airy impromptu. The two girls are bathed in an enchanting backlight, as if there is a sunny future dawning for them. Barefoot, they carry a basket of flowers or vegetables. The taller girl gazes at something beyond the picture space, the smaller one on the right looks at her companion.

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