The casting of the anchor
signed 'HW Mesdag' (lower right)
oil on canvas
140 x 181 cm.
Mr. Charles Roberts, Leeds (1831-1892).
Acquired by the father of the present owner in the United Kingdom circa 1980.
J. Poort, Hendrik Willem Mesdag 1831-1915. Oeuvrecatalogus, The Hague, 1989, p. 340, no. 21.19, as 'Het uitbrengen van het anker'.
Leeds, Leeds City Art Gallery and Temple Newsam House (according to a label on the reverse).
Special notice
Please note this lot is the property of a consumer. See H1 of the Conditions of Sale.
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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, however due to an inheritance Mesdag was able 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 and who advised him to paint en plein air. 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 differed to his colleagues in choosing only the sea as the subject matter for his works. This fascination began in 1868 when Mesdag and his wife Sientje made their annual visit to their native city Groningen, and they visited the Island of Norderney where he made his first sea studies. Mesdag considered himself a realistic seascape painter, and in order to be closer to the sea, he purchased a room at the 'Villa Elba' and later at Hotel Rauch, located at the Scheveningen beach. Until his death in 1915, Mesdag visited the sea frequently to seek inspiration for his paintings. From his room he could observe the sea in every weather condition. When the character of the fishing village changed into a modern beach-resort around the turn of the century, Mesdag would use his old sketches as the basis for his pictures.

Mesdag was one of the most celebrated leaders of the "The Hague School”. He was praised for his naturalistic seascapes which emphasized atmosphere and colour tone over the high finish and minute detail of his Romantic predecessors. Beyond his brilliant artistry, Mesdag was a skillful promoter of Dutch Impressionistic art and of his own work in particular. His typically Dutch seascapes were very popular, not only at the Salon in Paris but also in other countries such as Belgium, France, America and Canada.

In the present lot the artist depicted numerous Bomschuiten in the waves. The fisherman and anchor line in the water indicate that the coast is nearby. As there was no harbour in Scheveningen until 1894, the sailing vessels had to land directly on the sandy beaches at high tide. The detailed and atmospheric scene depicted in the present lot, in which the sea and the sky are infused with soft hues of blue, white and grey, is strikingly rendered. The present lot is a beautiful example of Mesdag's work in which he depicts the interesting effect of light on water and the sky.

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