Mela Muter (Warsaw, 1886 - Paris, 1967)
Mela Muter, née Maria Melania Klingsland, was one of the pioneering Polish women in the field of professional painting. Living in Paris since 1901, she came to form part of the international artistic and literary community and addressed issues not tackled by women artists, such as poverty, old age, the disabled, women and maternity.
In 1911, Josep Dalmau invited her to hold a solo exhibition in his gallery in Carrer Portaferrissa, Barcelona. The following year, Muter repeated the experience, this time along with fourteen Polish artists living in Paris, and in 1914 she spent two months in the city of Girona, coinciding with her solo exhibition at the Sala Athenea.
In Girona, Mela Muter painted her “first good landscapes”, such as The Onyar River in Girona. The canvas shows a typical spot in the city that many artists had previously depicted, such as Santiago Rusiñol and Prudenci Bertrana.
Popularly known as Vora el riu [On the Riverbank], the work features a composition with two trees framing the Onyar River in the foreground and the houses along the riverbank in the background.
“I tried to reproduce the whole city within the triptych made up by the two big trees standing out in the foreground,” explained Muter.
This work by Muter reveals the way she had been painting in those years, with a plain light brushstroke, allowing the surface of the canvas to be seen through the layer of colours.
The brushstroke, the colours, the rectilinear shapes of the houses, set against the most expressive curves of the river and the trees... Everything exudes an air of melancholia that impregnates the painting.
The Onyar River in Girona (1914) by Mela MutermilchGirona Art Museum
Museu d'Art de Girona (Agència Catralana del Patrimoni Cultural)
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