Hendrik Willem Mesdag Groningen, February 23, 1831 – The Hague, July 10, 1915) was a Dutch painter, watercolorist, etcher and lithographer.
Mesdag was the master naval painter
Of the Scheveningen bomb barges. He belonged to the Hague School. His best-known work is Scheveningen’s Panorama Mesdag, exhibited on the Zeestraat in The Hague. Caulking and Preparation for Departure are two other paintings by Mesdag. He was also a renowned art collector with his own museum, the Museum H.W. , now known as The h.w. mesdag Collection, on Laan van Meerdervoort in The Hague.
The Mesdag Hedrik willemCollection
Mesdag was a son of the starch manufacturer, later banker, Klaas Mesdag and Johanna Willemina van Giffen. He was born in Groningen and showed an interest in drawing and painting from an early age. There is a known Waterfall drawing of him that he made when he was barely 14 years old. His Groningen teachers were C.B. Buijs and J.H. Egenberger, director of Academy Minerva. However, he seemed destined for a business career in the family company. On April 23, 1856 he married Sientje van Houten. She also had an artistic interest. Their only child, Klaas, was born seven years later and died at the age of eight.
In 1866 Mesdag gave up his business profession
And decided to live permanently as a painter, strongly encouraged by Sientje. He spent the summer of that year in Oosterbeek, then known as the ‘Dutch Barbizon’. There he worked together with Johannes Warnardus Bilders. His great-nephew Lourens Alma Tadema, also a painter, introduced Mesdag in Brussels to Willem Roelofs, who had lived there since 1846. Roelofs became his ultimate teacher from 1866 to 1869. A friendly bond also developed with the Flemish landscape and animal painter Alfred Verwee.
In the summer of 1868 Mesdag went with his wife and child to the Wadden Island of Norderney. There he discovered the sea, the skies and the atmosphere that would become the basis for his artistic experience. In 1869 he moved to The Hague and moved into a house on Anna Paulownastraat. A little later, together with his brother-in-law Samuel van Houten, he had a house built on Laan van Meerdervoort, which is now part of the De Mesdag Collection museum. In Scheveningen he often rented a room in the Villa Elba, later the Hôtel Rauch, in order to be close to the sea.
In 1870 he received his first recognition: a gold medal at the Paris Salon, with a work he called Les brisants de la Mer du Nord. It was purchased by juror Charles Chaplin. Between 1873 and 1896, his entries were awarded several medals at the international expositions of London (1873), Lyon (1876), Philadelphia (1876), Amsterdam (1880), Berlin (1886) and Florence (1896).
Mesdag played an important role in the art life of The Hague. On January 31, 1876, the Hollandsche Teekenmaatschappij was founded. Mesdag was included in the board when it was founded, alongside Anton Mauve and Willem Maris. Every year, in August, an important watercolor exhibition was organized. Also Johannes Bosboom and J.H. Weissenbruch exhibited there.
In 1889 he became a member of the Dutch Etching Club. Like many other Hague School artists, Mesdag did not have a pronounced preference for etching. There would be only two etchings from his hand. Other artists, such as Philip Zilcken, did produce several etchings based on his works.
He was also admitted to the Pulchri Studio painting society and soon played a pioneering role there. From 1889 to 1907 he was chairman and then honorary chairman until his death in 1915. In 1896 he and his brother Taco acquired the house of the former minister Gijsbert van Tienhoven on the Lange Voorhout, to accommodate the Pulchri exhibitions. He had it redecorated and adjusted. The first members’ exhibition could be opened on July 13, 1901. Pulchri is still located there.
Preparation before departure
Meanwhile, the businessman in him had also lived on and, especially in Paris, he had acquired an extensive collection of valuable paintings, in which the Barbizon School played a prominent role. He collected more than 200 works and housed them in an outbuilding that he had built in the garden of his home on the Laan van Meerdervoort and which in 1887 became the Museum H.W. Mesdag became.
In France Mesdag was considered a very important painter and collector. In 1899 he excelled at the exhibition at Durand-Ruel in Paris. The review showed: …There is no need to praise the Dutch master, somewhat French by adoption, who has been exhibiting in our annual Salons for many years. As an Officer of the French Legion of Honor