Painting by Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831 – 1915) came in needing to be cleaned and varnished, as well as an unusual problem: the canvas had been improperly attached to the stretcher bars with nails. All four of the frame corners were separating, and there were several areas where the gesso was blistered and raising. If you look closely, you will see some pentimento, an alteration in the painting where Mesdag changed the angle of the horse rider, leaning him forward more.
Mesdag is known for Hague School painting, but what we find fascinating is the vitality and energy in which he painted water; we see these instances as the first steps to what would eventually become Van Gogh’s impressionism. In 1903, he gave his house and collection of paintings to the Netherlands. His house is now the Mesdag Museum.
This painting is on display at the Kruizenga Art Museum, a gift of Louis M. Plansoen 1979 1.2