VEERE, A ‘FORGOTTEN’ ARTISTS COLONY
As from the fifteenth century, Veere was a notable and wealthy city rich in culture and art. This period came to a finish, however, at the ending of eighteenth century, due to the Napoleonic Wars. At the deepest point of its demise in around 1870, a few signs of recovery nevertheless began to show. Artists and art loving tourists started to rediscover Veere and shortly after 1890, artists began to establish themselves here again. In the period between 1890 and 1970, more than 800 artists as well as poets, writers and musicians, had lived or worked in Veere. These included important artists from a number of European countries as well as from further a-field.
Veere, nevertheless, is still relatively unknown as a place where an artist colony existed even though artists of international name and fame had worked here. Hartley known is that some resident Veere artists like Lucie van Dam van Isselt, Jan Heyse, Johannes ten Klooster and Willem Vaarzon Morel took part in the well known Domburg summer-exhibitions, between 1911 and 1920.
With only a few exceptions, the majority of artists working and living in Veere at the time were of a more traditional nature. They were more individualistic in their work and had only one common bond……..that is, their incurable love affair with the picturesque city of Veere.
The most important years of the Veere artist colony were between 1900 and 1940 with “De Schotse Huizen” (The Scottish Houses) at its centre, in the first decades of the twentieth century. The English patron and art collector, ALBERT LIONAL OCHS (1857-1921) and his daughter ALMA FRANCIS (1889-1987) lived in these houses at the time. Together with the well known and feared art critic ALBERT PLASSCHAERT (1874-1941), they were the driving force behind the national and international fame of the artist colony through, amongst other things, the organisation of exhibitions in “De Schotse Huizen” from 1916 onwards.
With the closing of the VEERSEGAT (Veere inlet) in April of 1961, the artist colony again dwindled. Veere was cut off from its artistic lifeline, the sea with its ebb and flood. The colourful fishing fleet, a daily source of inspiration, was replaced by dull, recreational yachting. Together with these inspirational subjects, artists began to disappear from the Veere townscape. They stopped establishing themselves here and they stopped coming in the summer. When the Veere JOFFER SÀRIKÀ GÒTH (1900-1992) died, the old Veere artist colony ended, its aged spirit was gone forever.