Advanced search Advanced search

Mela - (Melania Mutermilch) Muter, PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN, 1905

add Your note 
Lot description Show orginal version
Estimations: 129 478 - 194 217 EUR
Additional fees: +5% / 3% Droit de suite
81.0 x 65.0cm - oil, canvas signed p.d.: M. Mutermilchowa | Paris | 1905


United States - collection of Tom Podl - American engineer and entrepreneur with Polish roots. Tom Podl (Podlasinski, born 1938) - owner of the largest in the United States and one of the largest private collections of Polish art in the world. The collection consists of works by Polish painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including paintings by Chelmonski, Slewinski, Boznanska, Pankiewicz, Kisling, Zak, Makowski, Muter, Stanislawski, Malczewski, Mehoffer, Cybis and Czapski.

Image described, exhibited and reproduced:

- Mela Muter (exhibition catalog), Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. Gallery of Painting, V - VI 2007, Cracow 2007, p. 8;

- Mela Muter. Painting, ed. by M. A. Supruniuk, S. Majoch, Torun 2010, p. 23.

This phenomenal portrait of a woman of unknown identity is an excellent example of Mela Muter's early work. Clearly inspired by the paintings of, living next door in Paris' Montparnasse, Olga Boznanska. Although Mela Muter closely observes the artistic solutions of the prominent painter, her portrait is clearly more blunt. Although the mood of reverie and the feeling of nostalgia in Portrait of a Woman is comparable to Boznanska's works, it is handled with more bravado. Boznanska's painting gives the impression of ethereality, while in Muter's work one feels certainty and determination. An excellent comparison of the work of the two ladies was made by Dr. Ewa Bobrowska, writing: This painting brings to mind Boznanska's compositional solutions from the early years of the 20th century. Portrait of a Woman (1905), from the collection of Tom Podl, is so close in its "hazy", contourless aspect of color stain to the works of Boznanska, as if it was painted specifically in her style. Muter, however, followed her own path, for example, remaining faithful for quite a long time to the concept of "portrait in the interior," defining the space in which the model posed, and using the furnishings as attributes that allowed a closer characterization of the model, as we mentioned above. Boznanska abandoned all unnecessary attributes quite early, in her opinion, focusing only on the plastic aspect of the image. Unlike Boznanska's painterly style, based on the play of color spots, Muter's style is based on a form-defining drawing. The artist would move to the concept of the "abstract portrait" with a neutral background in the late 1920s. Before the war itself, the young critic Max Goth, an ardent admirer of Boznanska's talent who would become associated with the Dada movement and Francis Picabia in the future, compared the two Polish-Parisian artists this way: "Here, next to Mrs. Olga de Boznanska, I feel like placing Mrs. Mutermilch, with images less delicately expressive, less reflectively caressing, but with psychological finesse just as strong and more direct. Mrs. de Boznanska narrates with a trembling voice, Mrs. Muter makes judgments and accusations" (Mela Muter. Painting, ed. M. A. Supruniuk, S. Majoch, Torun 2010, p. 23).

As early as 1902, Mela Muter regularly presented her paintings to the Parisian public. And although we cannot clearly establish the identity of the woman portrayed, it is possible that this exquisite portrait is the same as Portrait de Mlle J. F.... presented by the painter at the Paris Salon in 1905.

♣ A fee will be added to the auctioned price in addition to other costs, based on the right of the artist and his heirs to receive remuneration in accordance with the Law of February 4, 1994 - on Copyright and Related Rights (droit de suite).

Mela Muter, actually Maria Melania Mutermilch, née Klingsland (Warsaw 1876 - Paris 1967) one of the most interesting artists of the so-called École de Paris; despite her studies with Miłosz Kotarbinski in Warsaw and at the Parisian Académie de la Grande Chaumiére and Académie Colarossi, she considered herself self-taught, claiming that the real school of painting for her was only her contacts with outstanding artists and their art. Befriended by many artists and personalities (including R. Rolland, A. Zweig. R.M. Rilke, A. France. G. Clemenceau), she lived permanently in Paris from 1901, obtaining French citizenship in 1927. She traveled several times to Spain and Switzerland, and always maintained lively contacts with Poland, working for the country and taking part in its artistic life. Primarily revered as a portraitist, she also painted landscapes and still lifes. She devoted many paintings to themes of motherhood, suffering and old age. In her early period, she painted paintings maintained in the convention of realism and dark color tones (Portrait of L. Staff, Chess Game). Later, in the "French" period, she lightened her palette, used clear contours and, tending towards geometrization, stylization of forms. In recent years, large ensembles of the artist's works have been presented at several exhibitions at the National Museum in Warsaw ("Polish Artists," "Collection of Ewa and Wojciech Fibak," and above all at a large exhibition of the artist's paintings from the collection of Lina and Boleslaw Nawrocki).
Early Art Auction
22 October 2023 CEST/Warsaw
Start price
107 898 EUR
129 478 - 194 217 EUR
Hammer price
212 344 EUR
Hammer price without Byuer's Premium
176 953 EUR
Views: 91 | Favourites: 4


Early Art Auction
22 October 2023 CEST/Warsaw
Lots bidding

All lots are listed to bid

Buyer's premium
OneBid does not charge additional fees for the bidding.
Bid increments
  > 100
  5 000
  > 500
  10 000
  > 1 000
  100 000
  > 2 000
  200 000
  > 5 000
  500 000
  > 10 000
Terms and Conditions
About the Auction
About the Seller
Agra-Art SA
Wilcza 70
00-670 Warszawa
+48 22 625 08 08
+48 22 745 10 20
Opening hours
11:00 - 18:00
11:00 - 18:00
11:00 - 18:00
11:00 - 18:00
11:00 - 18:00
11:00 - 15:00