About Marc Mulders


Marc Mulders (Tilburg, 1958)

The art of Marc Mulders is like a garden: colorful and abundant, with soft and light hues predominating. He paints in daylight, in an open stable, standing at the threshold between the darkness of the stable and the surrounding meadows of flowers.

In his earlier work, from the 1980s, dark colors are the dominant tone; he paints religious motifs such as the Pieta and the Last Supper, along with still lifes of dead game, fish and flowers. During this period he is greatly influenced by the work of Chaïm Soutine. While drawn to painting abstractly, Mulders does need the materiality of animals and flowers to paint.

An important turning point is his move, in 2008, from the city (Tilburg) to a farm on the country estate Baest. The garden and the flower meadows around his studio develop into a key motif in his oeuvre. And because of this, his palette gradually becomes lighter. The fields of flowers inspire him to render flowers in a more abstract way, in which the interplay of sunlight on these fields becomes prominent.

Painters such as Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler and (the later work of) Claude Monet are his main source of inspiration. So it comes as no surprise that he calls his own gardens and flower meadows 'my own private Giverny', referring to the famous gardens of Claude Monet in Giverny.

In addition to his focus on the garden/flower meadow as a motif, Marc Mulders has, for years, been interested in Persian miniatures, in which gardens also play a significant role. Their design, color schemes and symbolism have profoundly influenced the paintings of Mulders, and as a result many of his paintings bear titles such as Persian Garden, Let the Desert Bloom and Persian Juno Iris. These Persian miniatures have a strong influence on the arrangement of areas of color and motifs in his work.

Stained glass and crafts

During the time of postmodernism during the 1990s, Marc Mulders goes entirely in his own way and adopts a stance against postmodernism by setting up what was called 'the Tilburg school' and writing a manifesto defending the motto 'religion-tradition-craft'.

Aside from painting, he also undertakes the crafts of stained glass and tapestry-making during those years. Among the stained-glass windows are The Last Judgment at the Sint-Janskathedraal in ’s-Hertogenbosch, the Erasmus Window at the Grote Kerk in Gouda and A Garden of Glass in Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk. This window, created for the 25th jubilee of Queen Beatrix, was chosen in 2006 as the country's 'most beautiful artwork from the past fifty years'. In 2023 his most recent stained-glass window was installed in the Sint-Petrusbasiliek in Oirschot.

Exhibitions and collections

Marc Mulders is one of the most successful Dutch painters today. From the start of his career Mulders receives recognition. In 1988 he wins the Prix de Rome, and he is invited to take part in two important exhibitions for promising young artists: Een grote activiteit (Wim Beeren, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 1987) and Gemengd bedrijf (Rudi Fuchs, Haags Gemeentemuseum, now Kunstmuseum Den Haag, 1993).

This is followed by solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam (1991) and the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (1993). Soon after, there is interest in his work from abroad. During this period his work is shown at Galerie Barbara Farber in Amsterdam, which shows his work at major international art fairs such as Art Basel, ARCOmadrid, FIAC Paris and Art Basel Miami Beach. Then there are solo exhibitions at Galerie Templon (Paris, 1997) and Stux Gallery (New York, 1999). Nevertheless, Mulders deliberately opts not to take the international route any further, because it distracts him from the essence: working in his studio.

His work is purchased by collectors within the Netherlands and abroad, and by museums including the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, De Pont Museum in Tilburg, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar and the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven as well as the Rob Defares Collection in Amsterdam.

Various other solo exhibitions are held in museums, among them De Pont Museum in Tilburg (1999), the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem (2006), Het Noordbrabants Museum in ’s-Hertogenbosch (2013) and the former Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, now Kunstmuseum Den Haag (2018).

Marc Mulders lives and works on Landgoed Baest, in Oostelbeers.