Bom in Bruges, Belgium. 1919. her exceptional early promise resulted in her first ‘ solo’ show at the Palais des Beaux_Arts. Brussels, in 1941. at the age of 19. Her 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. into pictures that transgressed the rectangular stretcher and finally resulted in forms known as ‘ shields ‘.
Tragically she ceased to work in about 1969 and died in March1991 at her home, where SOE agents had been trained during the war, at Wanborough near Guildford.
Collections: Many in Belgium, France, America and London including Anthony Denney, Yvonne Crowther, Nicholas Guppy and Madame de Bittencourt.
The conventional canvas orientated form was abandoned, and Marcelle developed her distinctive and unique images, her ‘slashed’ reliefs and ‘shields’. The movement of the pictorial form was made to traverse the ‘picture plane’, outward as relief, and inward as holes and rents receding back from the surface.
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.
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.