The Hague School
The Mesdag Collection
In the mid-19th century, inspired by the French Barbizon School, the Hague School introduced a novelty to Dutch painting: these artists, including Jozef Israëls, the Maris brothers, Anton Mauve, Hendrik Willem Mesdag and Jan Weissenbruch, no longer set out to idealize their landscape paintings, but depicted what they saw in a realistic manner. (As a consequence of the typical Dutch weather conditions, the movement is also referred to as the ‘Grey School’.) I myself like Mauve best, but it was Mesdag who became the group’s most famous representative, mainly because of his well-known 1,672-m² panorama of Scheveningen.
In 1887, Hendrik Willem & Sientje Mesdag built a museum right next to their house in The Hague. It was open by appointment on Sunday mornings and Mesdag himself gave guided tours. In order to demonstrate the ties between the Barbizon and Hague schools, paintings from both movements are hanging side by side at the Mesdag Collection, together with the Mesdags’ own work. Among the collection’s highlights are Cliffs at Villerville-sur-Mer and Sunset near Villerville by Charles-François Daubigny, as well as Chalk Cliffs near Yport by Camille Corot, Théophile de Bock’s Thunderstorm, In Groenendaal by Paul Gabriël, Jacob Maris’ Windmill, and Breakers on the North Sea, the painting that won Mesdag a gold medal in the 1870 Paris Salon and gained him international recognition.demesdagcollectie.nl