Oil on canvas: 40 x 27 cm
Framed size: 60 x 46 cm
Nelly Désirée Émilie Marez was born in 1908 in Valenciennes. From a very young age she felt that painting was her vocation. After entering the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Valenciennes in 1924, by 1928 she had moved to Paris to continue her studies at the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris, where her fellow students included Yves Brayer and André Hambourg.
In 1932 she married George Darley and they moved to the Lebanon where she continued to paint and exhibit. Moving to Algeria in 1940 she inhabited the milieu of other artists and intellectuals there including the writer Albert Camus and the sculptor and artist Jean Peyrissac.
Returning to Paris in 1945 she had her first Parisian exhibition at the Galerie Breteau in 1946 – followed by another in 1947. By the 1950’s her paintings had evolved from representational, portraits, landscapes and still lifes, via Cubism to Lyrical Abstraction. She exhibited annually at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles and again at the Galerie Breteau in 1954.
Once again embracing figurative painting in the 1980’s, she had exhibitions at the Galerie Callu Merite in Paris in 1987, 1988 and 1998. She also exhibited in Grenoble and Toulouse during this period.
A large retrospective of her work was held at the Château de Gréoux-les-Bains in 1999 and a further retrospective after her death in Valenciennes in 2007, titled – La bataille des formes, le langage des matières.
Nelly Marez-Darley died in 2001.