Hendrik Willem Mesdag was born on February 23, 1831 in Groningen. His father, a merchant and banker, was an amateur painter who saw to it that his two sons were also educated in the art of painting. He was a Dutch marine painter. He was born in Groningen, the son of the banker Klaas Mesdag and his wife Johanna Wilhelmina van Giffen. Mesdag was encouraged by his father, an amateur painter, to study art. He married Sina van Houten in 1856, and when they inherited a fortune from her father, Mesdag retired from banking to pursue a career as a painter. He studied in Brussels with Willem Roelofs and in 1868 moved to The Hague to paint the sea. In 1870 he exhibited at the Paris Salon and won the gold medal for The Breakers of the North Sea. Preparations for departureIn 1880 he received a commission from a Belgian company to paint a panorama giving a view over the village of Scheveningen on the North Sea coast near The Hague .