Born in Bruges, Belgium. 1919. her exceptional early promise resulted in her first ‘ solo’ show at the Palais des Beaux_Arts, Brussels 1941. Her early work was largely portraiture with a strong expressionist emphasis.
Settling in London in 1955. lollowing a remarriage, her interest in texture became fully abstract expressionist developing into an expansion into reliefs. The change-over to the synthetic materials, including scrap metal, with their greater flexibility, enabled her to develop her personal iconography. This led further. with her pioneering use of fibreglass as an artistic medium and into pictures that transgressed the rectangular stretcher and finally resulted in forms known as ‘ shields ‘.
In her studio at Wanborough, photographed by Lord Snowdon.
Collections: Many in Belgium, France, America and London including Anthony Denney, Yvonne Crowther, Nicholas Guppy and Madame de Bittencourt.
Each picture is experimental, making them difficult to assess commercially. ” A not mean merit at a time when so many attempts at the Abstract remain unashamedly repetitious and therefore meaningless.”
Some critics saw, but did not comment on, an underlying powerful feminism in her work of brooding power and intensity and inspired one (female) to write in 1961 ”Overwhelming and unreasonably brutal”, which Marcelle took as a compliment. It is doubtful that this picture could have been done by a man. “Not a feminist, she could well become a feminist icon” ( For an in-depth view by Beth Elliot )
Totally uncommercial, she wrote “I think of my pictures as victims” . “There is always a part of myself in my pictures”.
The ‘shields’ achieved a hieratic sort of presence. This was recognised and she was invited to exhibit one of these works ‘Darkness on Golgotha’ (See Shields→) in the exhibition of sacred art at the Musée d’Art Modeme, Paris, “Art Sacrée”, 1965.