Auction 129 / Lot 33

MELA MUTER ('actually Maria Melania Mutermilch')
Artist Data
1886 Warsaw, Poland - 1967 Paris
Oil on canvas
100,5 x 82 cm (frame 117,5 x 98 cm)
Reserve price
70,000 €
Hammer price
70,000 €

Signed 'Muter' at upper left and dated '1926' at upper right. Verso: Adhesive label on the reverse 'Papillon Gallery, Los Angeles' and 'Polswiss Art, Warsaw'. Mela Muter, actually Maria Melania Mutermilch, was born in Warsaw in 1896 and attended Milosz Kotarbinsky's painting school for women in Warsaw. Muter was briefly a student at the Académie Colarossi and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. As early as 1901 she moved to Paris with her husband, the writer and art critic Michal Mutermilch, where she made contacts in the Parisian art scene, among others with Arthur Honegger, Anatole France, Romain Rolland, Auguste Perret and Edgar Varèse as well as the Polish artists Henryk Sienkiewicz, Wladyslaw Reymont and Bronislaw Huberman. The 'Portrait of a Man' from 1926 offered here shows a depiction of a male person sitting on an armchair. Placed against the neutral background, the brown tones in particular dominate this painting. Muter shows a varying application of paint, from the pointillist application of paint in the area of the face to a long brushstroke in the area of the depiction of clothing. Her works were exhibited at the Société nationale des Beaux-Arts from 1902, of which she had been a member since 1912. She also exhibited at the Salon d'Automne and, from 1924, at the Salon de Tuileries. Several participations in group exhibitions followed, such as at Druet, Billiet and the Galerie La Renaissance in Paris, at Thannhauser in Munich, at the Galerie Dalman in Barcelona and at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. Her works were influenced by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gaugin and Vincent van Gogh and show mainly portraits, landscapes and still lifes. Muter spent the period during the Second World War in the south of France in Avignon before returning to Paris. However, due to the deterioration of her eyesight, Muter was only able to continue working to a limited extent. In 1927, Muter was granted French citizenship. In 1945 she returned to Paris, where she died in 1967. Her works are in the collections of the Musée d'Art Moderne and the Petit Palais in Geneva, as well as in museums in Algiers, Avignon, Barcelona, Belfort, Gerona, La Rochelle, Lwow, Lyon and Nantes. Portrait of a Man by Mela Muter was listed as a portrait of Arthur Honegger by the Papillon Gallery in Los Angeles in the 1970s. Frame. Provenance: Papillon Gallery, Los Angeles, probably after 1972 until c. 2000; since 2014 private collection Poland.