Born in Rotterdam, Marcelle Hanselaar is both a painter and printmaker. Hanselaar studied at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague between 1962 and 1964 and received a qualification in printmaking from Chelsea and Kensington College, London in 2001. Her first solo exhibition was at the Stedelijk Museum in Alkmaar. Hanselaar has since gone on to exhibit her work in galleries throughout the United Kingdom and Europe including the London-based Art Space Gallery, Clerkenwell Gallery, East West Gallery and Kings Place Gallery.
Hanselaar has received multiple awards for her work, including the 2003 Presse Papier Award and the 2012 MTG Award from the Krakow International Print Triennial. Hanselaar's works are held in numerous public collections, including the British Museum Prints and Drawings Collection, the V&A Prints and Drawings Collection, the Ashmolean Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum in the U.K. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Collection, New York, The Guangdong Fine Art Museum in China and the Iraq National Library in Baghdad. Hanselaar's Self-Portrait with Exploding Chest (2008) was acquired by Ruth Borchard Collection in 2011.
Hanselaar's began as an abstract artist and has since become primarily a figurative painter. Hanselaar's work explores the dichotomy between the reality and appearance of things, capturing both the vibrance and fragility of human nature. Key themes of her art are isolation, gender, eroticism and Doris Day syndrome. Hanselaar cites her key influences as theatrical illusions, Borremans, Dumas, Velasquez, Kiki Smith and the German Expressionist movement.
Hanselaar's theatrical Self-Portrait with Exploding Chest captures her long-standing interest in the space between reality and the appearance of things. The surface of Hanseelar's muted figure is ruptured by her bright red exploding heart, emphasising both the vibrance and frailty of the human form.