Mela Muter is known to have travelled to Brittany often after settling in France, and this superb large-scale portrait of Breton women in traditional dress is the most significant early work ever to appear at auction. The choice of subject matter is a reflection of her interest in the artists of the Pont Aven school, such as Paul Gaugin and Emile Bernard, who had immortalised traditional Breton life in their work. The bold colours and the dramatic lighting reveal a confident young artist whose pictures remained intimate at the same time.
Born into a Jewish family in Poland, Muter spent most of her in life in France. Having arrived in Paris in 1901, she frequented the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and the Académie Colarossi, but was essentially a self-taught artist. She was well integrated in the artistic and intellectual circles, was a member of the Parisian Societé Nationale des Beaux-Arts and exhibited widely both in France and abroad.
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