MESDAG H.W.(HENDRIK WILLEM)
1831 Groningen – 1915 The Hague
Mesdag is one of the most famous Dutch 19th century painters. His Impressionistic style follows the rules of the Hague School, of which he was one the founding fathers. He was born into a well-to-do family in Groningen, in the north of Holland. Destined to follow into his father’s footsteps as a banker his professional career as an artist started relatively late. It was only after his father died that he with his wife Sientje van Houten, also an artist, moved via Brussels to The Hague to become not only a prominent artist in the newly formed the Hague School but also a great collector of contemporary (19th century) art. As a professional painter he settle in a studio in Scheveningen, overlooking the North Sea. He had found his subject! In endless variation he would paint the ever changing sea and skies, the fishing vessels, the hard labour of pulling the ships every night on the beach. When finally a harbour was built in 1904 to keep the ships safe from storms, Mesdag was convinced that it was his task in life to keep the memory alive of "how it used to be" before. That’s why we seldom see a steam ship or the new harbour painted by him. Mesdag was a prominent figure in society, popular and respected. A prolific painter, his works are to be found in many museums and private collections around the world. A superbly Dutch rendering of sea and sky appealing universally.
Mesdag's collection of his contemporaries together with some of his own form the basis of a museum in The Hague. The best known museum in The Hague is dedicated to the Panorama Mesdag, a unique 360 degrees representation of 19th century Scheveningen. It is one of the very few surviving painted panorama's in Europe to be seen in a purpose built round dome. It attracts many thousand visitors a year.