Lot 163
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Autumn Auction: European Fine Art 2019
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Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831-1915)

Heavy weather

signed 'HW. Mesdag' (lower left)

oil on canvas, 90x70 cm

Literature:
-Johan Poort, 'Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831-1915), Oeuvrecatalogus Supplement', Wassenaar 1997, ill. no. 2020.29, p. 71, as: 'Heavy weather'.

Provenance:
-With Kunsthandel Gebroeders Douwes Fine Art, Amsterdam, no. 9291, as: 'Zwaar weer op komst' (according to labels attached to the stretcher).
-Private collection, the Netherlands.

Hendrik Willem Mesdag discovered that the sea, the fishing world and everything connected to this subject became a constant source of inspiration. By painting these subjects he captured a part of the history of the Scheveningen fishing industry. There has been no other painter who concentrated solely on the Scheveningen vessel, known as the bomschuit, in full action. Mesdag captured these vessels: leaving the coast, struggling to sail in the wind, on the high seas with fierce currents, or - approaching the coast at great speed with strong winds behind.

In terms of composition, the upcoming fleet of lot 163 has many similarities with a painting from 1897, the 'Return of the fishing vessels' (Johan Poort ill. no. 1897.10, and illustrated on the cover of the catalog raisonné). The sky is grey and cloudy, the waves in soft grey and white tones. In the painting now in auction, Mesdag created a much more dramatic atmosphere: we see the return of the fleet against a deep dark sky with black coloured clouds in the late afternoon. The sun's rays just shine through and illuminate the waves in the surf and the ocher-coloured mainsail. At the same time on the horizon in the distance, it appears to be raining.

An experienced sailor can deduce from the position of the sails that the boat - before the wind - is approaching its final destination. The sailors are in the process of regulating speed, braking as it were. In order not to turn transversely, both sails - the jib and the mainsail - are reduced. The jib is lowered sufficiently to catch the wind; the gaff of the mainsail is also lowered .

When this work was painted, Mesdag was already well established in the national and international art world of his time. In 1898 he was awarded the Order of Orange-Nassau by Queen Wilhemina. Until his death in 1915 he would visit the sea almost daily to seek inspiration for his paintings, also in his later years when the coast had dramatically changed due to industrialisation. The present painting provides the opportunity to revisit the natural beauty of the North Sea prior to its many changes.

€ 30.000,00
€ 40.000,00
€ 62.000,00

Hamerprijs: € 62.000

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