Marie Cecile Thijs
Flowers, Vases & Delftware
In this multi-faceted series Marie Cecile Thijs brings to life a surrealistic world of flora and fauna. Using strong light and dark contrasts, and using authentic 17th-century Delftware vases, these contemporary works connect the past to the present.
Portraits of autonomous young women. By combining historic references with contemporary portraiture, these works acquire a sense of timelessness. Silent Thought is included in the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, USA (VMFA).
'White Collar' is an autonomous photo project of Marie Cecile Thijs, which she started in 2009. The models are 'wearing' a 17th-century antique ruff collar that belongs to the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Because this collar is so delicate and rare, it was photographed by Marie Cecile Thijs - separately and under special conditions - in the Rijksmuseum and was later digitally added to the models.
Photos Girl with White Collar at table and Cat with White Collar are included in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (NL) since 2010. In that same year, Girl with White Collar was selected by the curator of the photo museum Chicago for the international Art of Photography Show.
About the ruff collar (information by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam):
'This collar is made of particularly fine batiste or cambric. As the name suggests, the material originally came from the Flemish town of Kamerijk or Cambrai. It was introduced to the Northern Netherlands by the Flemish refugees who arrived in the late sixteenth century. Haarlem weavers specialised in the fabric. Because of its shape, this kind of collar was known as a millstone ruff. These became fashionable in the second half of the sixteenth century under the influence of the Spanish rulers. Early millstone ruffs were starched with regular pleats. This collar, however, is looser and less tidy. It is of a type that was popular with young, fashionable men around 1615 to 1635. This is the only surviving pleated ruff in the world.'
In this series, alienating combinations of plants and flowers form a brand new green realm. In this futuristic world the human hand seems to have disappeared, giving free rein to climate, plants and animals.
Surrealistic portraits of majestic cats, with a nod to human nature. Works in this series have been exhibited at the Kunsthal Rotterdam in the Netherlands, at the exhibition called "Cat Love, Nine lives in the arts" in 2017-2018.
This series is inspired by the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. Historical symbols like the Tudor Rose and the black raven of the Tower of London are references to the many battles that were fought, the intrigues at court and the struggle for the crown.
A series with culinary portraits of food. Tranquil and yet dynamic and slightly surrealistic, affecting the essence of food. Like pink oyster mushrooms under a bell jar, storm in glasses of water, distilled Umami and artichoke dripping in oil. There are also pictures showing terroir, chanterelles growing on bread, weighted seabass in salt and bleeding beetroot.
Winner of the first place in the 7th Photography Masters Cup 2014 (Chickpeas) and awarded in the IPA 2013 (International Photography Awards).
Each portrait of a chef cook is a small scene out of life, showing dedication, craftsmanship and mastery.
Marie Cecile Thijs responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by creating her latest work Biospheres. Reminiscent of her earlier work The Kiss, Marie Cecile Thijs sees a new society where distance is key. In her series, flowers attain human characteristics; they remain attracted to each other, no matter the barriers and challenges put before them.
The image reminds us that even in a period of social distancing we are inspired to care for each other, the biosphere does not just serve one, but is there for all of us.
The horse has inspired many artists over the centuries. Marie Cecile Thijs is fascinated by this elegant and powerful animals since her childhood. Therefore, she has given the horse a place in her portrait photography. She has created a Black and White Unicorn (with an antique narwhal tooth) and she portraited Salinero, an Olympic horse. The portrait of Salinero is included in the collection of Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Most recent is her portrait of the Horse with the Blue Eyes.
Marie Cecile Thijs depicts angels as man's impromptu companions. In her work, angels are a timeless metaphor representing hope and autonomy. She intermingles the surreal world of angels with today's world to create a new reality. She mainly shows angels in more of a traditional portrait setting, partly inspired by classical painting and sculpture.
The Netherlands , 1964
Marie Cécile Thijs is an artist with a distinctive signature. Her portraits are still lifes, and her still lifes become portraits. She is influenced by the old masters in painting, yet her work is clearly contemporary. Stillness is key.
The work of Marie Cecile Thijs plays with temporality. By connecting past and present, she creates an unreal, and surrealistic relationship with our notion of time. The images represent an unclassifiable moment.
When she constructs an image, she looks at the object as if she had never seen it, even if it is a familiar object. This allows her to deconstruct the image she had in mind in order to build a new one.
Her work tends to represent a parallel world where time and space have different dimensions. Every detail seems familiar—real—but at second glance everything is different. The totality is at once obvious and foreign. In her world, the absurd is the norm.
Each photograph starts with an idea that she develops in her imagination before looking for ways to stage and communicate to the viewer.
Marie Cécile Thijs, originally a lawyer, decided more than fifteen years ago to follow her love for the camera. She is specialised in staged photography, and created the series White Collar, Food Portraits, Cooks, Horses and Human Angels, which are still in progress to this day. She also made many portraits of writers, politicians, designers and artists. Most recent she made still life series Asia > Amsterdam in cooperation with Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, and EU 2016 Mementos in assignment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Her work has often been published and exhibited, her photos have repeatedly received international acclaim and are included in the collections of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Museum Rotterdam and many public and private art collections. She published several books, most recent Characters (2013) en Food Portraits (2015).
Marie Cecile Thijs had her first retrospective in Museum aan het Vrijthof Maastricht in 2015. Also her work has been exhibited at TEFAF Maastricht and Art Miami in the same year. In 2016 she was part of the exhibition Dutch Identity in Museum De Fundatie Zwolle. Also her photographs have been exhibited in the EU 2016 paviljon in Amsterdam on the occasion of the chairmanship of the European Union by the Netherlands during the first six months of 2016. She had a solo show sponsored by the Dutch authorities at Corso Como in Shanghai in 2016.
MAIN PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Richmond
Museum of History and Art in Luxembourg
Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego
Exhibitions and Fairs
2018 | TEFAF Maastricht / Smith Davidson Gallery |
2018 | We are Food | Museum Jan Cunen
2018 | Food! Food in the Arts | Museum Nairac
2017 | Art Miami / Smith Davidson Gallery |
2017 | TEFAF Maastricht / Smith Davidson Gallery |
2017 | Cat Love | Kunsthall Rotterdam
2017 | Zona Maco Mexico City / Smith Davidson Gallery |
2016 | Dutch Identity, 25 Dutch Portrait Photographers | Museum De Fundatie Zwolle
2016 | Art New York, Smith Davidson Gallery |
2016 | Portraits | EU pavilion on the occasion of the chairmanship of the European Union
2016 | The Animal in Photography | Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego USA
2016 | Kunsthaus Aaartfoundation Kirchberg, Austria |
2016 | TEFAF Maastricht 2016, SmithDavidson Gallery |
2015 | Solo show | Museum aan het Vrijthof Maastricht
2015 | White Collar | TEFAF Maastricht
2015 | Art Miami, SmithDavidson Gallery |
2015 | Art Fair Cologne, Germany, Art 22 Gallery |
2013 | Food Portraits | Eduard Planting, Amsterdam
2012 | Cooks | New York photofestival Photoville
2012 | The Last Dance, Highlights by curator Suzanne Dechert | Melkweg Gallery Amsterdam
2011 | Salinero, White Collar, Majestic | PAN Amsterdam | Gallery Eduard Planting
2010 | Art of Photography Show / White Collar | Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago
2009 | Human Angels | PAN Amsterdam | Gallery Eduard Planting
2007 | Portraits | Melkweg Gallery Amsterdam
2005 | Human Angels | Melkweg Gallery Amsterdam