Hendrik Willem Mesdag: artist, collector and cultural entrepreneur.
Hendrik Willem Mesdag was an artist, collector and cultural entrepreneur. A research project was launched in 2011 to explore how Mesdag – together with his wife Sientje – fulfilled these different roles, how they reinforced one another, and how he became one of the most powerful figures in the world of late-nineteenth-century Dutch art.
Mesdag and his collections
The aim of the research is to raise our knowledge of Mesdag’s collection policy, his tastes and his ideas on how the collection should be presented. It also explores the contrast between his personal collection and the museum corpus, and identifies how he came to acquire the artworks and, in some cases, to sell them on. Mesdag’s national and international network, and the role he played in it, are also important. Unusually, the research focuses not only on the current Mesdag Collection, but also on identifying which other objects once belonged to it.
Centenary of Mesdag’s death in 2015
The research project will culminate in 2015 – the centenary of Mesdag’s death – with a publication and online access to the original and current collection and to Mesdag’s correspondence. An exhibition on watercolour painting in the Netherlands will also be organized in collaboration with the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, together with a symposium.
The research is being carried out in close collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) in The Hague.