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Arthur Meltzer

Painter
Born July 31, 1893, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Died July 3, 1989, Abington, Pennsylvania

Arthur Meltzer is a consummate draftsman, a master at handling paint and color and texture, and is always able to create interesting composition.
-- Drew Saunders, “Western Art Digest,” 1985

Artist Arthur Meltzer was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1893. His art training began close to home as he had early training at the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts and took an apprenticeship in a local stained glass studio. After leaving home to serve in World War I, he relocated to Philadelphia to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). While at PAFA he studied under the Pennsylvania Impressionist painters Daniel Garber and Joseph Pearson, both of whom proved greatly influential on Meltzer’s style.

In 1921 he won the prestigious Cresson Traveling Scholarship at PAFA and used it to travel and study throughout Europe with stops in England, France, Italy, Spain, and Holland. His exposure to art in Europe combined with his instruction at PAFA lead Meltzer to follow his teachers and become a Pennsylvania Impressionist painter. He is best known for his landscapes that capture the changing seasons and different times of day. One such example is Summer Skies, painted in 1924 and now in the James A. Michener Art Museum’s permanent collection. In the painting Meltzer has captured the Bucks County landscape in typical Pennsylvania Impressionist style, but the real focus of the work is the sky that occupies two thirds of the canvas. The massive clouds, bright blue sky, and changing shadows are not only specific to the named season, summer, but also to a unique time of day.

Soon after completing Summer Skies, in 1925, Meltzer joined the faculty of the Moore Institute (now called the Moore College of Art and Design) as a fine arts instructor. A year later in 1926 he became Head of the Fine Arts Department and taught painting, drawing, and anatomy. While working he met Paulette Van Roekens, also a Moore teacher and painter and the pair quickly became friends. However, this professional friendship grew into love and they were married in 1927. Meltzer taught at the Moore Institute until 1949 when he retired to his home in Huntington Valley where he painted and taught privately for the rest of his life.

Meltzer’s work has been exhibited at the James A. Michener Art Museum in The Pennsylvania Impressionists (1990), Objects of Desire: Treasures from Private Collections (2005-2006), An Evolving Legacy: Twenty Years of Collecting at the James A. Michener Art Museum (2009-2010), Bucks County and the Philadelphia Sketch Club (2010), Facing Out, Facing In: Figurative Works from the Michener Art Museum Collection (2011), and The Painterly Voice: Bucks County’s Fertile Ground (2011-2012).

Image: Photograph of Arthur Meltzer, photo courtesy of Davis Meltzer


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