Thijs Nel studied art at the University of the Witwatersrand in the early sixties. In the early seventies he stayed in Paris for 5 years where he spent two years at the Cité Internationale-des-Arts, completed murals at Bois d’Arcy and Neuilly-sur-Marne, studied lithography in the studios of Henri Deprest and Jean-Paul Pons and shared a studio for two years with opera director and designer Jean-Yves Taverniér.
He visited India a number of times and has also visited the USA. In 1981 he started exploring clay and ceramics and in 1990 was awarded a silver medal from the University of Pretoria for his contribution to art in South Africa. He has had over 40 exhibitions in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Potchefstroom, Bloemfontein, Gaborone, Harare, Paris and New York, and his work is known worldwide.
Thijs Nel currently lives in Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.
- Cité Internationale-des-Arts, Paris, France
- Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg, SA
- University of Pretoria, Pretoria, SA
- Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg, SA
- Goudstadse Onderwyskollege, Johannesburg, SA
- Roodepoort Museum, Roodepoort, SA
- Pietersburg Municipal Collection, Pietersburg, SA
- Willem Annandale Art Gallery, Lichtenburg, SA
- National Museum and Art Gallery of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
- The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada
- Long House Foundation, New York, USA
- Nasionale Letterkunde Museum en Navorsing Sentrum (NALN), Bloemfontein, SA