Marcelle Hanselaar, who we are when the mask is off

Recently the Metropolitan Museum of art in New York acquired the complete set of Marcelle Hanselaar’s The Crying Game prints, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK and the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, UK also own a set.

The Fitzwilliam Museum is planning an exhibition with them in from 22 Sep 2020 – 10 Jan 2021
Voices of Protest:The Crying Game, with prints by Otto Dix, Francisco Goya, Jean Rustin, Leo Haas.

Born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and growing up in the formal atmosphere of a protestant, postwar country, proved, thanks to her drop-out/turn-on rebellion, a profound source of inspiration for the recurring subject matter in Marcelle Hanselaar’s work; namely the fierce and sometimes troubled cohabitation with those raw desires, secret fantasies and uncultivated instincts and our functioning in a civil society.

Although she studied briefly at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, her lust for adventure, guided by a quest for self-discovery, led her to years of travel, until, in the early 80’s she settled down in her studio in London where she still lives.

Self-taught, she started out as an abstract painter before turning to figuration. At the same time she became fascinated by etching, its harsh, bitten line seemed to perfectly suit her subject matter.

As an artist Hanselaar looks for ways to express those illusive questions of who and what we are when the mask is off, and how we appear when the mask is on. The shock effect of her work lies in the contrast of combining her outspoken subject matter with the conventional medium of oil painting or etching.

Both her paintings and her prints display her delight and fascination with theatrical illusions and although often peppered with a biting sense of humor, the works reveals her own vibrant understanding of human nature, in all its animosity and fragility.
Marcelle Hanselaar
May 29, 2019

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