Born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1953, Marlene Dumas moved to Amsterdam in 1976, where she has lived and worked since.
Dumas is widely regarded as one of the most influential painters working today. Over the past four decades, she has continuously probed the complexities of identity and representation in her work. Her paintings and drawings, often devoted to depictions of the human form, are typically culled from a vast archive of images collected by the artist, including art historical materials, mass media sources, and personal snapshots of friends and family. Gestural, fluid, and frequently spectral, Dumas’s works reframe and re-contextualize her subjects, exploring the ambiguous and shifting boundaries between public and private selves.
In 2008, a critically acclaimed retrospective, Measuring Your Own Grave, was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, in association with The Museum of Modern Art, New York, which toured also to The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas in 2009. In 2014, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam presented Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden, a major retrospective of the artist's work that included over one hundred paintings and drawings from private and museum collections throughout the world. The show traveled to Tate Modern, London, followed by Fondation Beyeler, Basel in 2015.
Additional solo exhibitions of the artist’s work have taken place at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2001); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2001); New Museum, New York, and De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, The Netherlands (both 2002); Art Institute of Chicago (2003); Taidehalli, Helsinki (2005); Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town (both 2007); the Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg, and Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (both 2008); and the Fondazione Stelline, Milan (2012).
In 2017, two concurrent solo exhibitions and an altarpiece by the artist were presented in Dresden. On the occasion of the artist’s permanent installation at the Annenkirche Dresden (St. Anne’s Church), the Albertinum hosted a solo show of the Dumas’s Skulls series (2011-2015) and Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen presented three watercolor series by the artist. Later this year, the artist will curate an exhibition of her work alongside that of Edvard Munch and René Daniëls at the Munch Museet, Oslo.
Dumas has been the recipient of notable awards including the Düsseldorf Art Prize (2007); Rolf Schock Prize in the Visual Arts (2011); the Johannes Vermeer Award (2012); and Verleihung des Hans Theo Richter-Preises für Zeichnung und Graphik (The Hans Theo Richter Prize for Drawing and Graphic Art), Sächsische Akademie der Künste, Dresden (2017).
Work by Dumas is represented in museum collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Tate Gallery, London.
Since 2008, her work has been represented by David Zwirner. In 2010, Dumas had her first solo exhibition at the gallery, Against the Wall, which traveled to the Museu Serralves in Porto, Portugal.