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Art Talk Live: Jozef Israëls—Drawing Toward Social Justice

On a rustic wooden chair sits a young girl in simple dress and lace-less shoes.
Jozef Israëls, Dutch, A Young Girl Sitting on a Chair, 19th–20th century. Black chalk. The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Gift of George Abrams in honor of William W. Robinson, Curator of Drawings (1988–2016) and in memory of Justice Ruth I. Abrams (Radcliffe ’53, Harvard Law School ’56), 2021.91.

Gallery Talk

Figure drawing is often described by artists as a way of facilitating empathy and understanding another person’s vulnerability. A discussion of works by Jozef Israëls and his contemporaries, such as Vincent van Gogh, offers insights into the transformation of figure studies from an academic discipline into a vehicle for denouncing social injustice.

Led by:
Joachim Homann, Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings, Division of European and American Art

This talk is part of a series inspired by ReFrame, a museum-wide initiative to reimagine the function, role, and future of the university art museum. These talks examine difficult histories, foreground untold stories, and experiment with new approaches to the collections of the Harvard Art Museums, reflecting the concerns of our world today.

This talk will take place online via Zoom. The event is free and open to all, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.

Please read these instructions on how to join a meeting on Zoom. For general questions about Art Talks, email

Art Talks Live are presented via Zoom every other Tuesday at 12:30pm (ET) and offer an up-close look at works from our collections with our team of curators, conservators, fellows, and graduate students.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at at least 48 hours in advance.

The Harvard Art Museums are open to the public. Reservations are required for all visitors and can be made up to three weeks in advance. Please visit the museum website for more information.