Museum Panorama Mesdag acquires important painting

Museum Panorama Mesdag in The Hague has acquired a special painting by Sientje Mesdag-van Houten (1834-1909) through a private donation. The painting Sheepfold at Sunset (ca. 1880) was recently donated to the museum. The artwork illustrates the great colour control with which the artist was successful at home and abroad. The acquisition can be seen for the first time from 1st September 2022 in the new presentation Highlights from the collection.

Sientje Mesdag-van Houten

Sientje Mesdag-van Houten was one of the few professional female artists of her time. She studied with her husband, Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831-1915) in Brussels and painted still lifes, portraits and landscapes. Her paintings were well received and appreciated at exhibitions at home and abroad.

Quirky use of colour

With the glowing evening sky and the red-lit faces of the figures, Mesdag-van Houten manages to create a special atmosphere in Schaapskooi at sunset . She was known for her quirky use of color. She was therefore an exception within the group of painters of the Hague School, of which she, like Hendrik Willem Mesdag, belonged. Her mainly male colleagues painted mainly in subdued tone

Painting outside

She probably painted this landscape based on the sketches she made in Drenthe or the Veluwe. She often worked there, alternating with the dunes of Scheveningen. She told a journalist of the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant about that outside sketching in 1906. He wrote of how she set out “(..) with a trusted coachman, a team of horses, and a very sturdy carriage that could go through and over on those vast rambles on rough roads.” ‘The old trees (..), and those beautiful reed-covered sheepfolds, she has sketched them just as much, until she now knows their structure by heart, knows how everything is put together.’

Museum collection

Museum Panorama Mesdag manages an important collection of paintings by Sientje Mesdag-van Houten, to which this work forms a wonderful addition. The painting has been cleaned and restored especially for the Highlights from the Collection presentation.

Museum director Minke Schat: “We are extremely grateful for the enrichment of the collection thanks to this generous gift. With the addition of this work to the museum collection, the museum can give a broader context to the art of Sientje Mesdag-van Houten, as an important artist of her time.”

Artist couple

Hendrik Willem Mesdag is the namesake of Museum Panorama Mesdag and the painter of the famous Panorama of Scheveningen from 1881. Sientje Mesdag-van Houten assisted him in the execution of this 114.6 meter long and 14 meter high painting, just like the painters George Hendrik Breitner, Bernard Blommers and Théophile de Bock.