Mesdag, Hendrik Willem (hĕnˈdrĭk vĭlˈəm mĕsˈdäkh) [key], 1831–1915, Dutch marine painter. He gave up banking at 35 to study painting. He later lived at The Hague and was known as a painter and wealthy patron of the arts. He presented to the nation his fine collection, containing many paintings of the Barbizon school, together with a building to house it—Mesdag Museum, The Hague. His simple and realistic marine paintings are found in many Dutch galleries. The Return of the Fishing Boats (The Hague) is characteristic.