Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831-1915)
Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831-1915)

Sunset at Scheveningen

Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831-1915)
Sunset at Scheveningen
signed 'HW Mesdag' (lower right)
oil on canvas
40.5 x 51.5 cm.
Painted circa 1893.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 9 December 1998, lot 112.
with Kunsthandel Simonis & Buunk, Ede, where acquired by the previous owners.
Johan Poort, Hendrik Willem Mesdag 1831-1915; Oeuvrecatalogus, The Hague, 1989, p. 348, no. 2143 (illustrated and described as "whereabouts unknown").
Johan Poort, Hendrik Willem Mesdag 1831-1915; Oeuvrecatalogus in beeld, Wassenaar, 2001, p. 46, no. 717, as: Zomeravond te Scheveningen.
Onno Maurer, Gerdy Seegers (a.o.), 2007, p. 46-47, no. 3.
The Hague, Kunsthandel Biesing, Eere-tentoonstelling van schilderijen van H.W. Mesdag, February-March 1907.
Amersfoort, Museum Flehite, Jongkind tot van der Leck, de passie van een collectioneur, Collectie Kamerbeek, 21 January-9 April 2007, no. 3.

Brought to you by

Irena Okoelskaja
Irena Okoelskaja

Lot Essay

Hendrik Willem Mesdag was born in Groningen into a Mennonite family of grain merchants and bankers. He seemed destined for a career in banking. In 1856 he married Sientje van Houten (1834-1909), who was later to take up painting as well. An inheritance enabled Mesdag to devote himself entirely to art. His cousin Laurens Alma Tadema (1836-1912) introduced him to the landscape painter Willem Roelofs (1822-1897) in Antwerp, with whom he studied for a time. His Brisants de la Mer du Nord earned him a gold medal at the 1870 Paris Salon, immediately establishing his reputation. His most important work in this field is the famous Panorama from a vantage point on the Seinpost Dune at Scheveningen, which he painted in 1881 (Panorama Mesdag, The Hague).

Mesdag painted a series of large atmospheric canvasses between 1887 and 1894. He repeatedly painted the motif of a sunset or a summer evening in this period. The present lot is possibly a study for the large canvas Summer Sunset Scheveningen painted in 1893 with a comparable composition (see: J. Poort, Oeuvrecatalogus, The Hague, 1989, no. 1893.4, illustrated p. 233) which was sold in these rooms at 29 April 1997, lot 177 for Dfl. 470,000). This work is described in the card-index by the art historian Prof.dr. W. Martin, who catalogued all Mesdag's paintings that had appeared in exhibitions until 1918 as: "Les bateaux de pêche se sont disséminés au large; la mer est légèrement agilée et, profitant de la marée basse, des matelots relèvent leurs filets ou accrochent l'ancre. Les mâtures se détachent sur le ciel orangé qui s'étend au dessus de cette surface mollement bercée. Le soleil est sur le point de se noyer dans la mer. Plus loin, d'autres barques, dissolvant presque dans les buées" (see: Archives of the RKD, The Hague).

Mesdag was a fanatic art collector in his age. His collection had grown to such an extent by 1887 that he built a special museum for it adjoining his house in The Hague. It was donated to the Dutch state in 1903 together with its contents of more than 360 paintings and drawings. Roughly half the works were by his contemporaries of The Hague School, while most of the rest are by artists of the Barbizon School and French Realists. It has been hailed as the most important Barbizon collections outside France. He was a central figure in the Hague artistic circles, and became chairman and later honorary chairman of the Pulchri Studio art society. At the Salon of 1887 his Soleil Couchant was acquired for the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris (now Musée d'Orsay, Paris).

More from The former Kamerbeek Collection

View All
View All