Marcella passed away in 2009. 


Where she lived

“I live in Cullinan, a small village about 40km East of Pretoria, in a cobhouse-cum-art gallery that I built myself and that took a year to finish.”  Her studio and gallery in Cullinan was called Aldebran Studio.

Marcella’s work

Marcella worked in acrylic on hard board and water colour on paper.


She described her work as follows:

“My preferred media are watercolour and acrylic. I look upon my watercolours as poems – smaller work (landscapes or nudes) done quickly on the spot. The acrylics are like novels – bigger, worked on for a longer period of time, layered. Here I usually explore a poetic or mythological theme.”

“In my paintings I attempt to merge the mythical-poetic with the visual reality. In this way, another unique reality is created in each painting.  For me, the narrative aspect of a painting is just as important as the visual.  I see a painting as a search for the truth to the same extent that it is the creation of beauty.”

[“In my skilderye probeer ek die mities-poëtiese verbind met die sigbare werklikheid. Op die manier word in elke skildery ‘n ander unieke werklikheid geskep. Die narratiewe aspek van ‘n skildery is vir my net so belangrik soos die visuele. Ek sien ‘n skildery as ‘n soeke na die waarheid in dieselfde mate as wat dit die skep van skoonheid is.”]


Prof. Kobus Kruger made the following comment in describing her work at the opening of one of her many art exhibitions (translated to English):


“I look at her paintings………as invitations to look deeper, into the heart of subjects.  Wat we see here, is mystical art, spiritual art.  With “mystic” I mean the experience of a radical, transcendent of absolute dimension of subjects, on the other side- and also, as secret, within- the every day world.  The mystical eye sees deeper than the physical eye and senses, deeper than the conceptual eye and mind.  Mystical art is not only sight, but an overview of reality as a whole, insight into what keeps the inner dimensions of reality together (to converse with Faust) and a view on the realisation of latent potential.  Mystical art does note merely want to realistically present the presentable, sensory reality, although it is based in the sensory experience; it does not merely want to configure this reality abstractly, phenomenologically or introspectively, even though it might have significant appreciation of that dimension which emerged so strongly in the modern European art.  It wants to penetrate a further dimension: a contemplative absorption in- yes what shall we call it?: the transcendental primal root and context of things.


Marcella’s art is symbolic art, in which symbols- concrete symbols (animals, birds, fruit, eggs, flowers, the full moon), as well as abstract symbols (circles, spirals)- have strong associations with and relate to another (‘deeper’, ‘higher’, ‘more inner’) dimension of reality- or rather, to a different experience of the normal, a different perspective than the conventional, a different state of consciousness than the every day alertness.  We almost find a dreamlike quality, yet it is not quite the same as a dream world.”


[“Ek kyk na haar skilderye…….. as uitnodigings om dieper te sien, tot in die hart van dinge. Wat ons hier sien, is vir my mistieke kuns, gees-kuns. Met ‘mistiek’ bedoel ek die belewing van ‘n radikale, transendente of absolute dimensie van dinge, anderkant – en tog ook, as geheim, binne-in - die alledaagse wêreld. Die mistieke oog sien dieper as die fisiese oog en sintuiglike dinge, dieper as die konseptuele oog en gedagtes. Mistieke kuns is nie net sig nie, maar oorsig oor die werklikheid as geheel, insig in wat die werklikheid in sy innerlikste bymekaar hou (om met Faust te praat) en uitsig op die verwerkliking van latente moontlikhede. Mistieke kuns wil nie maar net die voorgegewe, sintuiglike werklikheid realisties weergee nie, al rus dit in die sintuiglike ervaring; dit wil hierdie werklikheid nie maar net abstrak, fenomenologies of introspektief figureer nie, al sou dit ‘n groot waardering hê vir daardie dimensie wat in die moderne Europese kuns so sterk na vore gekom het. Dit wil deurstoot na ‘n verdere dimensie: ‘n kontemplatiewe opgaan in – ja, wat sal ons dit noem?: die transendente oer-wortel en -konteks van dinge.”


Prof Kobus Kruger said that “Marcella se kuns is simboliese kuns, waarin die simbole - konkrete simbole (diere, voëls, vrugte, eiers, blomme, volmaan) sowel as abstrakte simbole (sirkels, spirale) – sterk assosiasies het met en verwys na ‘n ander (‘dieper’, ‘hoër’, ‘innerliker’) dimensie van werklikheid – of liewer, na ‘n ander belewing as die gewone, ‘n ander perspektief as die konvensionele, ‘n ander staat van bewussyn as die alledaagse wakkerwees. Ons vind hier amper ‘n droom-kwaliteit, en tog is dit nie heeltemal dieselfde as ‘n droomwêreld nie.”]




Marcella was born in 1945 in Pretoria, South Africa.

From the age of 11, she attended art classes with Ines Aab-Tamsen.

During 1962, she studied under Norman Daly in Ithaca, USA as an exchange student.

She studied BA (Visual Arts) at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, between 1963 and 1966 with Gunther van der Reis as mentor.

She married in 1967 and had two children.

She held several solo exhibitions all over South Africa (Durban, Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Windhoek).

She held exhibtions in Germany in 1994 (Norden) and 1996 (Hanover).

Her last exhibition was in May 2009 at her gallery in Cullinan.