The Telegraaf July 2013: His father André enjoys worldwide fame and his younger brother Pierre, as the right-hand man of the conductor, is well-known amongst the general public. But Marc Rieu lives in the shadows. The 34 year-old Maastrichtenaar (Maastricht local) creates beautiful, dreamy landscape paintings. “I was a quiet, shy boy as a child". But, this has changed! While Dad keeps audiences spellbound with his baton until 14 July at the Vrijthof in Maastricht, Son Marc does the same with his brush in the Theatre on the opposite side of the square. A "duet" of father and son on the most beautiful square in Maastricht!
However, it is no coincidence that Dad is giving his well-known open-air Vrijthof concerts on the Square at the same time. Marc laughs: "My father provides the background music to my exhibition."He tried the same thing four years ago. "I hung a number of paintings in the Theater. I displayed 36 canvases, and, within two weeks, 24 had sold! So I thought it would be a good idea to do it again. I traveled with my father to Sao Paulo once. I took along 17 paintings and all but one remained.”
The Vrijthof has been surrounded by steel fences for the duration of the concert series. These are covered with huge pictures of Andre Rieu and his orchestra. Restaurants offer special "André Rieudinners” and those who want to partake, have to hurry.
Beaming, Marc says: "I am proud of my father, but he is also proud of me!" Marc remained modestly in the background for years. "I was always a quiet, very shy boy like my dad, who, early in his career, did not dare say a word. I remember the times at school when I had to deliver a speech and could hardly utter a word. Gradually the situation improved and now I give lectures and exhibit. Hesitantly: "For a Rieu it is almost a given to speak in public. That makes it a bit difficult for me …” "But I do not feel having the name Rieu is a burden. Though I often hear, ‘Are you the son of ...?’ then I reply ‘Yes, but just call me Marc!’
The same thing happened to my father when he was young: he was the son of André Rieu Senior (conductor of the then Maastricht Symphony Orchestra). He believes in simply forging on and then eventually you'll get there." He puts his glass down. "That's why my father is, in a sense, an example to me. He often says ‘just keep going, you will eventually get there."
A career in music was not meant for Marc Rieu: "I've been fond of Art for as long as I can remember. When I was 12, I saw a television documentary about Vincent van Gogh at the primary school. I became fascinated by the man who, within ten years, had created more than 800 paintings and over 1000 drawings. Wow! However, he only managed to sell one painting, but nonetheless carried on, and on, and on … I made two decisions: to paint and to study art history at Nijmegen in order to learn more about Van Gogh.”
Marc became obsessed with the phenomenon (Van Gogh), who lived from 1853 to 1890. "He is a big hero of mine and I watched the EO-drama series in which Barry Astma immersed himself in the role (of Van Gogh) with great interest."
Marc was an outsider at school: My classmates chose occupations with general appeal: the girls wanted to become veterinarians and the boys firemen. I knew immediately that I wanted to do something that had to do with Art. I did not know at that stage what a fine artist (painter) was. That came much later. I have actually always lived for art, but I have only been painting full-time for a few years."
“It was already there early on. My brother (who’s my father’s right-hand man) and I could do summer courses in French and German. In the mornings we had lessons and in the afternoons we went to a nearby village. If it was hot, everybody was in the swimming pool, but I sat at the edge with a sketch pad."
When Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) brought Marc professional painting equipment and supplies, the serious work began and he also took lessons. His parents always backed him. "My father used to say: 'Do what makes you happiest, because you will be able to keep it up the longest.’ For Pierre that became music and for me visual arts. My life is art ...”
Brother Pierre chose to be his father's right-hand man and to travel around the world with him. Marc shakes his head: "Romantic music and Viennese waltzes are not as much a part of me as of Pierre, although music is one of my biggest sources of inspiration. When I paint, I always put music on: from Wagner and Mahler to film scores to Trijntje Oosterhuis, who, according to my judgment, is one of the best - if not the best - singer in the Netherlands.”
But, back to his own work. “I regard paintings as untold stories. A snowy landscape is not so special, until the snow begins to melt. Then the most unreal dreams emerge. Nothing is more personal than sharing your own dreamworld and fantasies with other people. "The sky is a source of inspiration to him. "I'm always glancing upwards. At this exhibition, I put up two or three paintings which consist only of clouds." Jokingly: "Someday I hope to be able to live off the air."
Marc admits that he’s never been business-savvy. "In that respect I certainly do not have the genes of my mother, Marjorie. She, as well as my brother, has business acumen. I am a dreamer. Show me someone who is both a dreamer and business-savvy. It does not exist. These are two different sections of the brain; one is almost always more active than the other. Who then conducts my business? My wife. She has it (business acumen) too.
Whether I resemble my father? My voice in particular is similar to his. But I do not have to visit the barber (hairdresser) every six weeks …”
"Whether some of my work adorns the walls of my parents’ castle? It is pretty full of it. Whenever I’ve completed a creation, I send Dad a message and often receive the answer "it is beautiful – I will have it. You can pack (and send) it.”
Thank you to Ineke for sending this and Entia Translating it.