In the 1870’s the Belgian artists Emile Claus, Camille Van Camp and Euphrosine Beernaert spent a couple of summers on the isle of Walcheren, Zealand. With many other guests they stayed at the country house of the wealthy Belgian industrialist Emile De Harven near Domburg and made the isle the subject of their works. A real artists’ colony, however, was not formed until the turn of the century.
At that time, Domburg was known as a spa for the European elite, thanks to the famous German physician Johann Georg Mezger. The ‘modern’ artists came to the bathing resort following Jan Toorop. This prolific and all-round artist - who also left his mark on Katwijk’s art life - spent some time in Domburg almost yearly between 1903 and 1922.
On Walcheren he and Piet Mondrian became the leading representatives of Dutch Luminism, which had its hey-day in the years 1908 - 1911. Between 1908 and 1916 Mondrian spent almost yearly some time in Domburg, turning from Neo-Impressionism to a process of abstraction, which in the end would lead to his Neo-Plasticism.
Together with the Domburg woman painter Mies Elout-Drabbe and with the help of friends like Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig, Jacoba van Heemskerck and Jan Heyse, Toorop organized the well-known Domburgsche Tentoonstellingen (1911-1921), wherein Dutch and foreign artists participated. The Hungarian painter Maurice Góth and his family were - at the outbreak of the First World War - among the refugees from Belgium who stayed for several years or longer in the bathing place.