Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Polish artist Maria Mela Muter 1876-1967

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1930s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Self Portrait


The daughter of a Polish merchant, Maria Melania Muter left Poland at age 25 to settle in Paris. Even though she left her homeland, her works were frequently exhibited there & she always stressed that she considered herself Polish.


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


In 1899, she entered the School of Drawing and Painting for Women in Warsaw, and married Micha Mutermilch (1874–1947), a writer, critic & socialist activist from a Polish Jewish family. Her only child, Andrzej, was born in the following year. Shortly afterwards, the family left for Paris. In France, she was an active member of the Polish community, she participated in the events of the Polish Artists Society, the T.A.P, and she was in constant contact with her artists & writers compatriots such as Stefan Zeromski, Léopold Gottlieb and Zborowski. She also was in contact with Romain Rolland, Diego Rivera, Arthur Honegger, Albert Gleize, & Auguste Perret who drew the plan of her house.


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


In autumn 1901, she started her studies at Académie de la Grande Chaumière, continuing them at the Académie Colarossi. She soon gave up formal academic studies, later claiming that she was largely self-taught & that she was influenced more by the painting of the École de Paris than by her college studies. Even though she is attached to Poland, Mela Muter soon becomes a personality of Montparnasse and, in 1902 only, she takes part in the Beaux-Arts exhibition. Every year, she exhibits her works on the Polish Exhibitions (Warsaw, Lvov, Cracow). The art dealer and collector Ambroise Vollard takes an interest in her and particularly likes the portrait of him that she paints in 1916.


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


She began to exhibit her paintings in 1902, her 1st individual exhibition taking place in Warsaw at the Society for Promotion of Fine Arts. This was only the 2nd by a woman artist in the history of the institution. She exhibited in Warsaw again in 1907. In Paris, she showed her works regularly at exhibitions organized by Societé Nationale des Beaux Arts, Salon des Indépendants, Salon d’Automne, & Salon des Tuileries. In Poland, she also exhibited at Society for the Friends of Fine Arts shows in Kraków and Lvov. Before WWI, She also exhibited in Barcelona in 1911, and in Gerona in 1914.


1920s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Children


Before WWI, she travelled frequently to Spain, fascinated by Spanish landscapes & Spanish painting. She spent the war years mainly in France. In 1917, she met an intellectual & socialist activist, Raymond Lefebvre (1891–1920), who was severely ill at the time. Their relationship caused the dissolution of her marriage.


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


In the period between the wars, she held one-woman exhibitions in Paris in 1918, 1924-28, 1930; and in Warsaw in 1923. In 1921, she was invited to be a member of the Salon d’Automne jury. In 1925, she makes friends with Rainer Maria Rilke who dedicates her poems & writes her several letters that have recently been found. Their affair lasts, until he dies in 1926.


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)

In 1927, Mela Muter became a French citizen. During this period her financial situation declined, and at the beginning of the 1930s, she started giving private painting lessons. She spent WWII in the south of France, living in Avignon teaching drawing, art history, & literature at the girls’ College St. Marie. She received a small flat from the city authorities, in which she spent her summer holidays until her death.


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


After the war, she was active in the pacifist movement signing anti-war petitions by French women-painters & sculptors. She also founded a society for the protection of the Polish borders on the Oder & the Nysa. She continued to paint & exhibit. A large retrospective of her work took place in 1953 in Paris. She also showed her work in Lyon, Avignon, Marseille, Cologne, & New York City. As she grew older, her sight deteriorated, but improved after a cataract operation in 1965; so that she could rework & overpaint some of her paintings. She died in her studio on May 14, 1967.


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Self Portrait


1913 Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Les petites filles


1913 Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


1914 Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Gesschwister


1919 Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Perhaps Muter's Son


1920s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)



1930s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Child


1930s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Two Children


1930s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


1940s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


1940s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Child


1940s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Maternite


1940s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Motherhood


1940s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Motherhood


1940s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


1950s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


1940s Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Girl in a Red Blouse


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Mother


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967)


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Boy with Geraniums


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Mere et Enfant


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Female Portrait


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Mere et son enfant


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Woman with Dog


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Woman in a Violet Robe

Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Femme en bleu les mains jointes


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Portrait of a Woman


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Portrait of a Woman


Maria Mela (Melania) Muter (Mutermilch) (Polish-French artist, 1876-1967) Two Girls


There is a blog devoted to the work of Mela Muter showing her landscapes, still lifes, and portraits of a variety of people here.

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