MUTER, MELA (1873–1967), French painter. She was born in Warsaw and as a young woman left Poland to study in France. There she abbreviated her family name, Mutermilch, using "Muter" as her professional name. In 1937 she received a gold medal at the Paris World's Fair, and two years later she was represented in the World's Fair of New York. When the Nazis invaded France, Mela Muter was in her late sixties. Her son was killed in the war, but she managed to elude the Germans in Avignon, in southern France. There she continued to live for many years, in great poverty, until in 1965 she was rediscovered by a gallery in Cologne. Two years later, a few months before her death, her work was exhibited in New York. Crippled and no longer able to paint, she enjoyed her new fame; she used most of her earnings to aid sick children. Her "psychological portraits" were much admired. In addition to portraits, she painted mother and child groups, landscapes and still lifes, either in vigorous oils or in tender aquarelles.
Hahn, in: Das Zelt, 1 (1924), 180–2.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.