We welcome you to the website of the “Internationale Schildersweek - In het licht van Walcheren" (international Art Week “In the light of Walcheren”), of which will take place in the Dutch seaside town of Domburg.
Our foundation, the Stichting Art & Performance, has been organizing the Schildersweek on an annual basis since 2003. Every year we invite around thirty professional artists from all over the world to come to Domburg and spend the week around Ascension Day together, to be inspired by the surroundings and by each other, and to create art.
In a sense, the roots of the Schildersweek go back to the late-19th and early-20th century, the crucial period in the history of Domburg, when the town became a sea side resort as well as an artist colony.
You will find the program of the Schildersweek at the bottom of this page.
In the final decades of the 19th century, the quiet town of Domburg changed forever, mainly through the efforts of the internationally famous Dr. Johan Georg Mezger of Amsterdam. Mezger, being a promoter of the beneficial effects of sea water and salty air, decided that Domburg was the perfect place to establish a health spa. He had a wide circle of famous patients, and when he ‘set up shop’ in Domburg, the rich and famous soon started to follow him. In 1888, the small pavilion which had been built on top of the dunes was replaced by the current “Badpaviljoen”, and several prosperous European families had large villas erected in the surrounding dunes. Most of these majestic buildings disappeared during the Second World War, but a few, among which the Badpaviljoen and the adjacent Villa Carmen Silva, survived to this day.
In the slipstream of European nobility and wealthy patricians, artists started to arrive. Around the turn of the century, many artists spent their summers in Domburg - and painted there. Many paintings were produced, depicting Domburg, its surroundings, the typical beach views with the rows of wooden poles designed to break the waves, and the people of Walcheren. After a century, these pictures still remind us of the period in which Domburg’s artist colony flourished. Many of the artists who were part of the ‘Domburg set’ became internationally famous. Piet Mondriaan and Jan Toorop are two of the most obvious examples. The great American painter Whistler also visited Domburg (and painted there) during his stay in the Netherlands. On 17 August 1900, Whistler reportedly described Domburg to his biographers, as "a wonderful little place, just beginning to be known but not yet exploited". And that is exactly what we understand it was, back then.
The artists were not just attracted by the wealthy public (a potential source of income), they were also attracted by the peaceful atmosphere, the unspoiled surroundings, the sea, and perhaps more than anything by the famous light of Domburg. The quaint little town of Domburg is now a seaside resort and its population multiplies during summer, but somehow Domburg has managed to preserve much of the old, laidback atmosphere - as winter guests will confirm. The other good news is that our famous light is still there, as brilliant as ever.
Our foundation aims at stimulating today’s artists to come and experience the magic of today’s Domburg, and by doing so, to help us restore and preserve the stimulating spirit of the artist colony that contributed so much to the fame of this beautiful place.