Sientje Mesdag-van Houten (1834 - 1909), 1875
oil on canvas,
40.5 cm x 51.3 cm
The Mesdag Collection, The Hague
Nero was Hendrik Willem and Sientje Mesdag’s faithful companion. Sientje painted this portrait of their dog in 1875, a few years after she began working in oil paint. Around this time she sought her subject matter in her immediate surroundings, in her home and garden. This included their dogs Jolie, King-Charles, and Nero, portrayed here.
Sientje Mesdag quickly established her reputation as an artist. Her still lifes, landscapes, and portraits were well received. She developed into one of the most influential Dutch female artists of her time and stimulated and encouraged other women in the arts. She also bought works by them for what was then the Mesdag Museum.