In 1887, the artist couple Hendrik Willem Mesdag and Sientje Mesdag-van Houten had a museum built beside their house on Laan van Meerdervoort in The Hague. They were both painters and art collectors. They assembled the largest collection of Barbizon paintings and drawings outside France and purchased major works by artists of the Hague School, to which the Mesdags themselves belonged. At the museum, the couple displayed their own paintings alongside the artworks they had collected. Their outstanding art collection is still on view today in the beautiful historical interior of The Mesdag Collection.
Although the emphasis in the paintings is on contemporary – that is, nineteenth-century – works, the Mesdags also collected a small number of older paintings, by Herman Collenius and Johannes Mortel. They also brought together a large collection of arts and crafts from all periods and parts of the world, including pottery and tapestries from Delft. Parts of the rich collection are regularly highlighted and contextualized in temporary exhibitions.
Renske Suijver, Curator (March 2023)