Mauritz Frederik Hendrik de Haas

Artist Biography

Mauritz Frederik Hendrik de Haas (1832–1895)

A Dutch-born painter of American landscapes who achieved renown for his marine scenes of the New York area

I. Biography
II. Chronology
III. Collections
IV. Exhibitions
V. Memberships
VI. Notes
VII. Suggested Resources

I. Biography

The moonlight-scenes in and near New York are, I think, finer than any other locality, except, perhaps, on the ocean. They are more luminous, more highly-coloured, and more atmospheric, than in Europe. The cloud-scenery in the suburbs of New York is the noblest and most beautiful in the world.[1] ―Mauritz Frederik Hendrik de Haas

Mauritz Frederik Hendrik de Haas was born in Rotterdam, Holland in 1832. At eight years old, he began art instruction with Jacob Spoel and commenced classes at the Rotterdam Academy of Art at age fifteen. While studying under Nicolaas Johannes Roosenboom, a landscape painter, de Haas became fascinated with coastal scenes.[2] He visited points along the Dutch coast to paint the scenery and then spent a year painting in London and along the coast of the English Channel in 1851. Following de Haas’s return to the Netherlands, he studied at The Hague for several years under Louis Meyer, a prominent marine painter, and also exhibited his work at exhibitions throughout Europe. In 1856, one of de Haas’s paintings came into the possession of the Queen of Holland. Her enthusiasm for his work led to de Haas’s appointment as artist of the Dutch Navy the following year.[3]

Possibly due to the support of August Belmont, Minister to The Hague, de Haas moved to New York City in 1859.[4] The artist would become associated with American marine painting and remain in the United States for the rest of his life. Soon after his relocation, de Haas began receiving important commissions. For example, he painted several naval scenes during the Civil War at the request of Admiral David Farragut.

Primarily working in oil paint, de Haas became most celebrated for his marine and coastal scenes. Contemporaries lauded his work for its realistic nature, which was attributed to his thorough understanding of the ocean and his knowledge of shipbuilding.[5] De Haas was an early member of the American Watercolor Society and was elected academician of the National Academy of Design in 1867. He was prolific up until his death in 1895.

II. Chronology

1832 Born in Rotterdam, Holland
1851 Spends a year painting in London
1856 One of his paintings is acquired by the Queen of Holland
1857 Begins working as artist in the Dutch Navy
1859 Moves to New York, New York
1864 Establishes a studio in the Tenth Street Studio Building
1882–83 Serves on council of National Academy of Design
1895 Dies in New York, New York

III. Collections

Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Massachusetts
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
New-York Historical Society, New York, New York

IV. Exhibitions

Boston Athenæum, Massachusetts
Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore, Maryland

1861–96 National Academy of Design, New York, New York
1861–91 Brooklyn Art Association, New York
1881–94 Boston Art Club, Massachusetts
1883, 1888 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1889, 1891, 1894–95 The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois
1867 on American Watercolor Society, New York, New York
1859 The Hague Academy, Netherlands

V. Memberships

American Watercolor Society, New York, New York
National Academy of Design, New York, New York, associate 1863; academician 1867

VI. Notes

1. Mauritz Frederik Hendrik de Haas quoted in “The Methods of a Marine Painter,” The Art Journal 4 (1878): 186.
2. “American Painters. M. F. H. De Haas,” The Art Journal 1 (1875): 308.
3. Ibid., 309.
4. Ibid., 309–10.
5. See Ibid., 310 and “Obituary Record. M. F. H. De Haas,” New York Times, November 24, 1895, 5.

VII. Suggested Resources

“American Painters. M. F. H. De Haas.” The Art Journal 1 (1875): 308–10.
Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art, 1564–1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Vol. 1, A–F. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999.
Ferber, Linda S. The Coast & the Sea: Marine and Maritime Art in America. London: New-York Historical Society in association with D Giles Limited, 2014.
“Marines by M. F. H. De Haas.” New York Times, January 31, 1896, 6.
“Obituary Record. M. F. H. De Haas.” New York Times, November 24, 1895, 5.
“The Methods of a Marine Painter.” The Art Journal 4 (1878): 185–87.
The National Academy of Design. “Mauritz Frederick Hendrick De Haas.” Accessed February 24, 2015.

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