On the Beach
Alfred Verwée (1838 - 1895), 1869
oil on canvas,
93 cm x 68 cm
The Mesdag Collection, The Hague
Verwee painted this work on commission for Mesdag and it was delivered to him in The Hague in 1869. Mesdag became acquainted with the Belgian painter in Brussels. He admired his colleague’s realistic paintings of animals.
This time, however, Mesdag was not satisfied. He voiced harsh criticism of the painting in a letter to his friend: ‘The white horse has great qualities, but it seems to me that the head and neck are too big in proportion to its hindquarters: the man in the blue smock is not well drawn, nor is one of the horses in the background.’
In his turn Verwee did not hesitate to find fault with Mesdag’s work. Perhaps both artists benefitted from this candid correspondence.