Mela Muter (Maria Mutermilch aka)

1876 1967
(Pologne) 1876 /   (France) 1967

Mela Muter grows up into a well-off and cultivated family of Warsaw. Her brother, Zygmunt Klingsland, will become an art critic well-estimated in Poland.

In 1901, after one year studying at the J.Kotarbinski art school for women, she arrives in Paris with her husband, socialist journalist Michal Muttermilch, and enrols at the Colarossi Academy and then at the Grande Chaumière. 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.

She is an active member of the Polish community, she takes part in the events of the Polish Artists Society, the T.A.P, and she is in constant contact with her artists and writers compatriots such as Stefan Zeromski, Léopold Gottlieb and Zborowski. She is in contact with Romain Rolland, Diego Rivera, Arthur Honegger, Albert Gleize, Auguste Perret who drew the plan of her house, and with her socialist friend Raymond Lefevre who tragically dies in 1920.

Mela Muter chooses her models among her friends : the musicians Erik 
Satie, Maurice Ravel, the writer Henri Barbusse.

In 1925, she makes friends with Rainer Maria Rilke who dedicates her poems and writes her several letters that have recently been found. Their affair will last until he dies in 1926.

In 1927, Mela Muter is granted French citizenship. In 1937, she takes part in the International Exhibition.

When the war breaks out, Mela Muter takes refuge in Avignon and keeps painting.Back in Paris at the end of the war, she travels several times to Britanny and Spain. Three months before she dies, the Hammer Galleries of New York dedicates her a retrospective.

Most of her works are currently in Warsaw, in the collection of doctor Boleslaw Nawrocki.



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