To learn more about H.W.Mesdag click on the several links in this biography leading to other pages on this website.

1831 23 February: Hendrik Willem Mesdag is born in Groningen to Klaas Mesdag, banker (4 April 1795, Bolsward - 4 February 1881, Groningen) and Johanna Wilhelmina van Giffen (20 February 1802, Groningen - 4 March 1835, Groningen). Brothers and sisters Ellegonda (July 2nd 1826 - July 12th 1826), Ellegonda (Nov. 16th 1827 - Aug. 22nd 1866), Taco (Sept. 21st 1829 - Sept. 4th 1902), Gilles (Dec. 9th 1832 - Jan. 25th 1892)

Mesdag's mother dies.
During his schoolyears Mesdag receives drawing lessons from C.B. Buijs (1808 - 1872) and J.H. Egenberger (1822 - 1897).


20 October: Mesdag is baptized in the Baptist Church at Groningen. He starts work at his father's bank and remains there for 16 years.

1856 23 April: Marriage to Sina (often called Sientje) van Houten, daughter of Derk van Houten and Barbara Elisabeth Meihuizen.
1861 29 August: Mesdag accepted as a pupil at the Academy Minerva in Groningen.
25 September: Birth of son Nicolaas (called Klaas).
1866 Mesdag ends his banking career to become a professional painter. The family spends the summer at Oosterbeek where he receives advice from J.W. Bilders. Mesdag also studies in Vries (near Groningen). After that he goes to Brussels where he stays for three years.
In the summer Mesdag goes to Norderney, an island off the North Sea coast. It is here that he discovers his main theme: the sea. Mesdag starts his collection of paintings in Brussels.
1869 The Mesdag family moves to The Hague. He is admitted to the Pulchri Studio Painters’ Society
1870 Les Brisants de la Mer du Nord receives a gold medal at the Salon in Paris. Jury: Ziem, Chaplin, Millet. The painting is bought by Chaplin for Frs 2500. This important work disappears, only to be "rediscovered" in 1993 (in two pieces) by the MDS.
1871 24 September: Son Nicolaas dies. After the death of her son, Sientje Mesdag-van Houten starts to paint. Jozef Israëls, a friend of Mesdag, comes to The Hague. The friendship dates from their childhood in Groningen.
1872 Mesdag receives the gold medal from The Hague for The Arrival of a Fishing Boat in Scheveningen.
1878 Mesdag starts to build a museum for his private collection in the garden next to his house.
1881 On 4 April Mesdag's father (85) dies in Groningen.
Mesdag paints the Panorama together with Sina and some colleagues. On 1 August it is opened to the public
1884 The Panorama is exhibited in Munich.
1886 3 May: Mesdag buys the Panorama at an auction.
1888 The painting Soleil Couchant is bought for the Luxembourg, Paris. (Now: Musée d'Orsay, Paris).
1889 Mesdag is elected chairman of ‘Pulchri’ (which he remains until 1907). The Panorama Mesdag is shown in Amsterdam.
1894 2 June: Receives the royal distinction of Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau. Gale in Scheveningen. Start of the construction of a harbor. Portrait drawing of Mesdag by artist Jan Veth, present in Museum Mesdag and published as a lithograph in De Kroniek of 24 February 1895.
1901 21 February: Mesdag is promoted to Commander of the Order of the Dutch Lion. Pulchri moves to the Lange Voorhout.
2 March: the opening of the new Pulchri building is celebrated jointly with Mesdag’s 70th birthday. A dinner party for 230 guests is given.
1903 14 May: Mesdag donates his private collection together with his Museum to the Dutch State and becomes its first director. 10 January: the Mesdags are honoured for their donation with a large ‘Italian Party at Pulchri Studio.

The 50th wedding anniversary of the Mesdags is celebrated at Pulchri. Works by both Hendrik Willem and Sina are shown by all art galleries in The Hague.
20 February: Mesdag receives the Gold Honorary Medal for Art and Science in the House Order of Orange-Nassau.
1909 Sientje dies on 20 March, aged 74.
Willy Martens becomes director of the Museum Mesdag. Fallières, President of the French Republic, visits the Museum Mesdag with Mesdag as his guide. Mesdag's 80th birthday. He receives a gold medal from Pulchri Studio, designed by F.E. Jeltsema (1879-1971). Mesdag becomes seriously ill. His friend Jozef Israëls dies in The Hague.
1915 10 July: Mesdag dies in The Hague after having been ill for more than three years

The funeral of H.W. Mesdag



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