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‘At the heart of creation, is celebration’ – this adagio seems fit for Ellen Davidzon. As a painter she celebrates life, with paintings that so burst with joy for life or with such a tender, deeply human interest, that you wish you could inhabit them.
Davidzon (1971) was born in Amsterdam, grew up in the Dutch countryside in Blaricum. After a year at the Rietveld Art Academy she continued her studies at the University of Amsterdam, where she majored in Social Psychology. She found her inspiration during holidays at their family house on Vlieland, one of the Dutch Wadden islands, and during her later life in Amsterdam, where she now lives along the canals with her husband and three sons.
Notwithstanding the many painting- and drawing lessons she followed, Davidzon is largely self-taught. ‘I have been painting my whole life’, she explains. ‘That’s how I create my own reality. I’m looking for timelessness and harmony; the idea behind things is more important than things themselves. In eastern art this is an important element but it is basically a universal thought.’
She successfully goes her own way; she sells her works herself, during exhibitions throughout the year, to a fast growing group of Dutch and international collectors.


Anyone who has ever spent a day at the beach, be it at The Hamptons, The South of France or along the North Sea coast, will recognise themselves in Ellen Davidzons work. With impressionist, loose touches and subtle colours she paints children playing in the surf, a lonely fisher in the sand, colourful kites dancing against a fiercely blue sky. Her work is firmly rooted in European culture, both in style and subject. ‘I love Scandinavian beaches, or those of the Wadden sea: the thin, hazy light. But also the Amsterdam canals, where the sunlight is filtered through the green leaves of the trees and reflects silvery on the water; the feeling of happiness in spring, that first moment when you can ride your bike bare-legged again. It’s about that spiritual element that unites people. That’s what I’m looking for and what I’m trying to depict.’
The atmosphere in these paintings is elegant and light, the colours are joyous and the brushstrokes loose. This is where Davidzon creates the world she wants to see: a mother lifting her child, teenagers playing on their i-phones. It invokes both the joy of recognition and a heightened reality. ‘In these works I paint what makes me feel good’ agrees Ellen. ‘I leave out what I don’t like – I want to see the beauty in the now.’


With her new series ‘Boundaries’ Davidzon takes the next step – by pushing back boundaries on the inside. If earthly reality rules her beach- and cityscapes, then this is where we find insights in the human psyche. ‘Boundaries is about the part of life I know there is too – life is full of contrasts. How do you push back your boundaries and embrace these things, without losing yourself in them? The horizontal beams in these paintings are a symbol for these boundaries, and at the same time connect all the works together, the way storylines are interwoven in dreams.’
Each work depicts the ‘Contrast’ theme and the way to handle these, which creates a layering of meaning. ‘Infinity’ shows a drawing of a loving couple stuck to a wall, next to the number 8, a symbol of infinity. The wall is also covered by a flowering branch, that will wilt in time. In ‘Promised Land’ two figures wash ashore on a golden beach, pink-red mountains towering in the background – but is it such a paradisiacal country?
‘My inspiration for Boundaries are quite diverse’ she confirms. ‘Photographs, colour, art, music, religion. I filter everything and translate it on canvas.’ The work of photographer Hendrik Kerstens makes an appearance, but artists such as Henri Matisse, Hélène Schjerfbcck en Geer van Velde also inspire her.
The circle seems complete with ‘Beach’, an empty beach view where both the white foam of the surf as the dark blue sea appear as a beam. No playing children here but tiny figures far away, contemplating. Life as it is, filtered through the eyes – and brushes of the painter Davidzon.

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