DE MESDAG COLLECTION
Laan van Meerdervoort 7F,
2517 AB Den Haag
Tel. 070 362 1434
This museum contains the private collection of paintings accumulated by Hendrik Willem Mesdag and his wife Sientje. In 1887 they built a museum right next to their house. Their own paintings hung side by side with their collection of Dutch and French art.
Both took up painting in their thirties. Hendrik Willem Mesdag painted the sea, while Sientje mainly produced landscapes and still lives. They lived amidst their ‘areas of special interest,’ for their house in Laan van Meerdervoort in The Hague still adjoined woods and dunes and Scheveningen beach was a short distance away. Mesdag went to the beach almost every day. There he sketched the fishermen and their flat-bottomed boats, rough waves or the dunes. He generally painted in his studio.
When the Mesdags decorated their home, they had the names of French painters proudly displayed on one wall: Daubigny, Millet, Dupré, Rousseau, Courbet, Corot, Troyon, Diaz. All these painters were included in their collection.
The artists of the Barbizon School set off a revolution in painting. They no longer made idealised landscapes like earlier artists. Instead they painted their personal impressions of nature and country life – quick, unpolished pictures. They preferred to paint outdoors, another new development.