Welcome to the surreal world of Marie Cecile Thijs. Portraits of people, animals, flowers and food, they all bear her specific signature. Stillness is key. One can see influences reminiscent of the golden age, at the same time her personal interpretation is completely contemporary. She plays with her subjects by bringing them to life unexpectedly, or freezing them in time and space. Objects become characters. They move away from their daily destination, assuming a complete new personality. This provides intriguing creations, where tranquility, motion and sometimes also humor meet. You would almost forget that cats normally do not wear collars or that chickpeas are usually located on a plate in stead of floating through the air. In her work the unusual is usual.

Marie Cecile Thijs is specialised in staged photography. She made amongst others the series White Collar, Food Portraits, Amazones, Flowers, Birds & Vases, Majestic and Human Angels, which are still in progress to this day. Originally a lawyer, she decided twenty years ago to follow her love for the camera.

Her work is included in the collections of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Museum Rotterdam, the Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego (MOPA), the National Museum of History and Art in Luxembourg (Mnha), the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (VMFA) and many public and private art collections.

Marie Cecile Thijs had her first retrospective in Museum aan het Vrijthof Maastricht in 2015. In 2016 she took part in the exhibition Dutch Identity in Museum De Fundatie Zwolle and BAL! at Soestdijk Palace. In November 2016 her 3 month during solo exhibition started at 10 Corso Como Shanghai, China, in cooperation with the Consulate of The Netherlands in Shanghai. In 2017 her works from the series Majestic and White Collar were exhibited in Kunsthal Rotterdam (exhibition Cat Love, Nine lives in the arts). In 2018 she made her debut in Italy at Turin with her solo show at Palazzo Saluzzo Paesana. Until January 20, 2019 she has a solo exhibition ‘Between Heaven & Earth’ at Museum Jan Cunen, Oss, The Netherlands.


S   E   R   I   E   S


W H I T E  C O L L A R

White Collar is a series by Marie Cecile Thijs, which she started in 2009. The models are portrayed ‘wearing’ a 17th-century antique ruff collar that belongs to the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam in 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 Amsterdam and was later digitally added to the models (mostly children and cats).

Works in the series White Collar are included in the collections of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego (MOPA) and the National Museum of History and Art in Luxembourg (Mnha).

About the ruff collar (information by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam):
‘This collar is made of particularly fine batiste. It was introduced to the Northern Netherlands by the Flemish refugees who arrived in the late sixteenth century. 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.’


F O O D  P O R T R A I T S

Contemporary still lifes with culinary portraits of food. Suspended, yet dynamic and slightly surrealistic, affecting the essence of food. Marie Cecile Thijs looks at these objects as if she encounters them for the first time, creating a new dialogue.



Portraits of mysterious and forceful young women. By combining historic imagery with portraits of contemporary young women, these portraits get a sense of timelessness. Silent Thought is included in the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, USA (VMFA).



Surrealistic portraits of majestic cats, with a nod to human nature. These works have been exhibited at the Kunsthal Rotterdam in The Netherlands at the exhibition ‘Cat Love, Nine lives in the arts’ in 2017-2018.


H U M A N  A N G E L S

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 also shows angels in more of a traditional portrait setting, partly inspired by classical painting and sculpture.



In these portraits the majestic and even mythical proporties of horses are revealed, going so far as to create a black and white unicorn using an antique narwal whale tooth. Marie Cecile Thijs has also portrayed Salinero, an Olympic gold medal winning dressage horse. Salinero is included in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.


C O L L E C T I O N  R I J K S M U S E U M

Still lifes of the hidden treasures from the art depots of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum. Marie Cecile Thijs was permitted to have a close look in the depots of the Rijksmuseum for objects for her still lifes. She also photographed 17th-century objects from the Amsterdam > Asia exhibition.


F L O W E R S, V A S E S & B I R D S

In this multi facetted series Marie Cecile Thijs brings to life a surrealistic world of flora and fauna. By using strong light and dark contrasts and combined with authentic 17th-century Delftware Vases, these contemporary artworks connect the past with the present.


G R E E N   S C E N E S

In this series, alienating combinations of plants and flowers form a brand new green realm. In this green futuristic world the hand of mankind seems to have disappeared and climate, plants and animals have free reign.



This series is inspired on the period that Queen Elizabeth I ruled 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 the court and the fight for the crown.