Marlene Dumas was born in Cape Town, South Africa. From 1972 to 1975 she attended Cape Town University, where she studied for a BA in Visual Arts. She then completed her studies in Haarlem, in the Netherlands.
She has lived and worked in Amsterdam since 1976. From 1978 she has exhibited internationally, and is one of Holland's most widely admired artists. In 1995 she represented Holland in the Venice Biennale, and in 1996 the Tate Gallery exhibited a selection of her works on paper.
In the past Dumas produced paintings, collages, drawings, prints and installations. She now works mainly with oil on canvas and ink on paper. The sources she uses for her imagery are diverse and include newspaper and magazine cuttings, personal memorabilia, Flemish paintings, and Polaroid photographs. The majority of her works may be categorised as 'portraits', but they are not portraits in the traditional sense. Rather than representing an actual person, they represent an emotion or a state of mind. Themes central to Dumas' work include race and sexuality, guilt and innocence, violence and tenderness.
Miss Interpreted, exhibition catalogue, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven 1992
Chlorosis, exhibition catalogue, The Dougles Hyde Gallery, Dublin 1994 (essay by Jonathan Hutchinson)
Catherine Kinley, Marlene Dumas, exhibition broadsheet, Tate Gallery 1996
11 June 1997
Film and audio
In this film, Marlene Dumas talks about her Great Men series, a group of portraits made in response to Russia’s ...
In 1994 Marlene Dumas began Rejects, a selection of portraits previously rejected from other series of her work
Tread the line between creativity and sex as we explore what separates these two terms
Ink is an ancient writing and drawing medium in liquid or paste form, traditionally black or brown in colour – ...
The subjects of Marlene Dumas’s paintings are drawn from both personal and public and personal references - from self-portraits and ...
In the film The Imitation Game the actor Benedict Cumberbatch plays the role of Alan Turing. The role has led ...
According to the figure painter Marlene Dumas, ‘secondhand images...can generate first-hand emotions'. Assistant Curator Fiontán Moran takes a close ...
Marlene Dumas has been called 'the world's most interesting figure painter'. Never painting directly from life, her psychologically charged ...