Welcome to The Mesdag Collection

Masterpiece in the spotlight

This month we have Portrait by Gustave Courbet as ‘Masterpiece in the spotlight‘. A painting in autumn colours. The man in the painting looks very similar to Courbet around the age of thirty. Is it a Self-Portrait? Or a Portrait of a friend?

Read more about this work.

Gustave Courbet - Portrait

Gustave Courbet (1819-1877)

c. 1849-1863, Oil on canvas
The Mesdag Collection, The Hague

At home with the Mesdags

In the late 19th century, the Mesdags held many leadership positions in the art world of The Hague. Hendrik Willem and Sientje served on numerous boards, organised parties and receptions and opened the doors of their own studios to the cultural elite. They also exhibited their own art collection in one of the first museums of contemporary art. Many photographs of their lives have been preserved. They include portraits, of course, but also beautiful views of their studios, their private quarters and the many social events that they organised. You can enjoy a semi-permanent presentation in their former residence, with reproductions of these historic photographs showing the many-faceted lives of this artist couple.

Read more about the presentation ‘At home with the Mesdags: Photographs of an artistic life‘.

Hendrik Willem Mesdag and Sientje Mesdag-van Houten, 1906

Hendrik Willem Mesdag and Sientje Mesdag-van Houten, 1906

Photo : O. Becker & J. Maas
De Mesdag Collectie, Den Haag

About the museum

The Mesdag Collection houses the exceptional collection of 19th-century art assembled by the renowned marine painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag and his wife Sientje Mesdag-van Houten. The collection, which contains a host of masterpieces by the French Barbizon School and the Hague School, has been exhibited in the Mesdags’ delightful private museum since 1887. Adjacent to the museum is the Mesdags’ former home, which can be hired for meetings and events.

The Mesdag Collection. Photography: René S. Gerritsen

Photography: René S. Gerritsen


Order online or buy in the Museum shop the book  The Mesdag Collection by Maite van Dijk, curator and Renske Suijver, researcher at the Van Gogh Museum.

This richly illustrated book tells the story of the remarkable collector from The Hague and includes all the highlights of the collection. Languages: English and Dutch. Price € 19,95.

> This book is available in the Van Gogh Museum online shop

Camille Corot (1796-1875) Chalk Rocks at Yport (detail)1872, Oil on canvas The Mesdag Collection The Hague

Camille Corot (1796-1875)
Chalk Rocks at Yport (detail)

1872, Oil on canvas
The Mesdag Collection The Hague