Saturday, 30 May 2009

Still Life


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Portrait of François Pompon


François Pompon (1855-1933) was a sculptor, most famous for his monumental white polar bear "L'Ours Blanc," presently in the Musee D'Orsay. He also worked as Rodin's assistant. Muter painted his portrait on more than one occasion.

Monday, 25 May 2009

View of Avignon


Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Port of Marseille


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Still life with apples and tomatoes

1920 or before

Friday, 15 May 2009

Self Portrait


Muter painted several self portraits, this one is by far the most successful.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Gypsies by the Rhone


This work was sold at Christies in June 2007 under the more politically correct title "Bohemian Family by the Bridge of Avignon" for £36,000. I believe this is a record in the UK for a work by Mela Muter.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

"Street over the channel"

Late 1940's.

Titled "Street over the channel" by the auction house Agra-Art, this work depicts Rue de Teinturiers in Avignon and the Riviere la Sorgue, also painted by Muter here and here. The present day Rue de Teinturiers can be seen from a similar vantage point below.

The painting goes on sale May 31st with an estimate of $31,000.



Mela Muter with this work, probably in the 1950's -

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Portrait of a girl


Monday, 11 May 2009

Portrait of Ambroise Vollard


This is an unfinished portrait of Ambroise Vollard, the art dealer who helped make the names of artists such as Cezanne, Picasso, Gauguin and Van Gogh. It is unclear if Vollard ever represented Mela Muter.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Portrait of Emile Verdet

This work is unusual. Most of Mela Muter's paintings seem to turn up orphaned on the doorstep of auction houses, without secure provenance or history. This one is different, having been in the same family for many years. Muter's celebrity sitters are usually always recorded, but this painting is unusual in that it features an ordinary man whose name and circumstances are recorded, and there is an anecdote accompanying the painting.

Portrait of Emile Verdet, oil on canvas 1940's. 81 x 53cm.

This is Emile Verdet, owner of "Le Coq Hardi" and later the restaurant "Verdet" in Avignon, France. When Muter was seeking refuge in Avignon during the Second World War, she and other impoverished artists ate at Emile Verdet's restaurants. Put up for sale last year, the painting has been in the Verdet family since it was painted and given to Emile, in lieu of payment for a meal.

Muter's mantra was "concentrate on the important things." She always put a great deal of work into the faces and hands of sitters, usually expending less time and energy on clothing, backgrounds etc. This work receives a consistently high level of attention throughout.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Photo: Cité Fleurie, Paris 1905

Adults l-r, Mme Furstenberg (sister of the artist), Mela Muter, Michal Mutermilch (artist's husband), M. Furstenberg (artist's brother in law), Leopold Gottlieb.

The children are (l-r) Piotr and Julek Furstenberg and Andrzej Mutermilch.

The setting for this 1905 photograph is the Cité Fleurie, a group of artists studios constructed in 1880 with materials left over from the Universial Exposition. Gauguin and Modigliani both worked here, as did countless lesser artists. The studios are still standing at 65 Boulevard Arago, Montparnasse.

More information on Cité Fleurie.

Quai de la Ligne, Avignon


During the Second World War Mela Muter moved to Avignon in the south of France, where she continued to paint and taugh drawing and art history at the College Ste Marie. In return the local authorities gave her a small house which she kept until her death, returning regularly for summer holidays after the end of WW2 when she had relocated to Paris.

The work above depicts Quai de la Ligne in Avignon, looking towards the Pont d'Avignon. The yellow house, far left, is Muter's house, 24 Quai de la Ligne. Muter painted numerous works in the vicinity of her house, in the street, in and around the stairs behind her house, and around the Pont d'Avignon.

The artist outside her house in Avignon

Muter painted some of her best works in Avignon during the Second World War, especially landscapes. Her work is charactised at this point by a shift in palette towards deep blues (seen here in the hills in the background) mustard yellows, and light greys, yellows and ochres. Shortly after, in the 1950's, her eyesight began to fail and the quality of her work changed dramatically.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Boats in a port

1950's or later.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Valentré Bridge, Cahors



1940's, painted around Avignon.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Portrait of a man with glasses

1950 or later

This work was sold in April 2008. The man may or not be Boleslaw Nawrocki. Below is a video presentation filmed (in Polish) on Mela Muter and this work by the auction house Desa Unicum.



Another early work. Despite there being several distinctive features I am yet to identify where this was painted.