Atmospheric Landscapes by Melania Muter


Atmospheric Landscapes by Melania Muter

"Muter unquestionably treated nature and real-life human models similarly, and it was probably one of the secrets of her great art," 

- Mela Muter, Tableautins d'Avignon-Les Arbres, l. 50, manuscript in the archives of B. and L. Nawroccy  


Apart from portraits, landscapes were Mela Muter's favorite painting subject. The artist created various interesting images from her travels, including scenes of the French and Spanish views. These works are distinguished by a well-developed artistic and intellectual apparatus, also incorporating a mix of leading artistic currents of the time. The early landscapes by Muter featuring views of Concarneau from Brittany point to her associations with the Pont-Aven group and Władysław Ślewiński's work. From 1915 to 1919, the Polish painter made stylistic references to fauvism and Vincent Van Gogh in her works. This is especially visible in her use of strong contrasts and uniform color spots, as well as in expressive impastos. In the years that followed, her creative activities were inspired by Cézanne's paintings and the prevailing cubism. Her paintings capture the south of France in warm colors and cubist shapes. In the 1930s, Melania Muter enhanced her art with the picturesque views of the Rhone Valley. However, in the 1940s, after the start of the war, when she moved to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon and Avignon, she returned to the previously painted themes, also depicting the views of the Rodan river, Provencial nature, and mountainous landscapes. 

Our September Art outlet - 19th Century and Modern Art auction presents you with such a work from the 1940s, titled "Trees by the Canals". The composition features monumental silhouettes of trees, which may remind you of a rhythmical colonnade of an old temple. This piece visually relates to the artist's earlier work titled "Birch" from 1902. The aforementioned paintings were produced over a long time span, but they are connected by the mood that pervaded Mela Muter's paintings throughout her career. The early 20th-century landscape "Birch" from 1902 referred to metaphysicality and the psychologization of nature, which were then widely popular among the creators and used as a means of expression to synthesize the landscape. Despite having been created in the 1940s and showing connections to the new trends of the time, the composition "Trees by the Canals" reveals an underlying thick layer of romantic aura, melancholy, and a pantheistic view of the landscape. The creator incorporated nature into both of these pieces. The artist's unusual sensitivity to the natural world was her source of inspiration. Muter was able to see into the emotional realm of nature and simultaneously depict it on canvas.