Cecilie Markovà created thousands of drawings and paintings with the help of an unknown ‘Master’ guiding her hand. The first took place on October 12th 1938, and the last near the end of her life in 1998. Throughout her lifetime she generously gave her work away.
Markovà came from a family of Slovak glassmakers who had settled in the glassmaking region of Kyjov. Cecilie was born there on 20th September 1911 with her three siblings. After secondary school she trained as a seamstress and milliner in Kyjov. In 1933, at the age of 22 Cecilie married a Spiritualist called Bohumil Marek. Together they attended seances which led her to experiment with automatic drawing, an act which left her astonished, but fascinated.
Sadly, this happy time for the newlyweds was shortlived as the German occupation began which was followed by the tragic death of Bohumil in May 1940. Distraught, Cecilie continued to go to Spiritualist circles and in one seance comforted by a message from Bohumil praising her artwork. Afterwards, communication with the otherworldly through drawing became a regular way of dealing with her loneliness.
She continued to work, but in the evenings would say a prayer and begin to draw unaware of her surroundings. Floral ornamentation, sometimes with faces peering through would fill the page, as well as ethereal portraits. Later, Cecilie produced vibrantly coloured paintings which depicted visionary landscapes that incoporated the Moravian Slovakia scenery.
From the early 1960s Markovà began to exhibit her work and find acclaim further afield in Brno and Prague, as well as other parts of Europe such as INSITA in Bratislava, Italy and Germany as part of exhibitions showing Czech primitive art arranged by the art historian, Arsen Pohribny. After she retired in 1968, many more exhibitions followed in Moravia and Cecilie became a celebrated artist. Today, Markova’s work can be found in several public collections including the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne.
Many of her admirers would receive the wonderful gift of a hand-drawn New Year’s card of which she created many and continued even after suffering a stroke in 1995 and after her deteriorating eyesight meant she could no longer paint. It was a gift from the inner soul of a remarkable artist who had devoted her life to the art of another realm. She died in the 21st September 1998 at the age of 87.