Anna E. Meltzer, artist and musician, has several times reached a crescendo in her painting. Such a one has happened in her newest work, named prismatism, bringing it to an exciting climax. This most recent expression of her creativity has slowly and surely grown from the early realistic, sensitive and deeply felt works, all influenced by her lifelong love of music, into this new, dramatic and contemporary facet of her art. Anna E. Meltzer has grown younger with the years, absorbing in turn her previous experiences and gaining from them the sure knowledge and spur to go on to different and endless vistas. It says well for those whose forte is to appreciate and understand the fine artist, that from the first moment she placed her paintings before the public, there has been acclamation and the highest praise. Also she has shared her knowledge and deep dedication with her students, inspiring them and guiding them to express themselves, and thereby influencing strongly the mainstream of contemporary art. It is fitting to record the many opinions by this country's leading gallery directors, critics and writers on art. Since this volume barely skims the surface of the accomplishments of Anna E. Meltzer, it has been necessary to select only a few of the very many articles and reviews written about her and her exhibitions. One of the very first to be impressed by this artist's talent was Marie Sterner. Her first glimpse of Anna Meltzer's work convinced her that this was a unique talent, and she wrote: "Anna E. Meltzer is one of the rare artists of today, technically equipped to express her observations and emotions in terms of art, without resorting to the affectations and idiosyncrasies, which too often give the false impression of originality. "Her work will therefore be appreciated by the more exacting connoisseur, who will recognize the profound and sensitive characterizations of humanity whether spiritual, realistic, or humorous, which she portrays with the sympathetic interpretation of what she feels as well as what she sees." These words remain true as well today, and Marie Sterner would agree that in this new area of painting, she is continuing her observations in the language of today.
From these early realistic works Anna Meltzer continued searching for new ways to portray her new theories in art, which culminated in the second crescendo in a style called spectralism. This new approach used color swirling around the canvas, crossing and recrossing and building up in multitudinous ways the ideas expressed in her mind. Music still dominated the feeling and the backgrounds and figures were attuned to each other by the color. The well-known critic, Dorothy Grafly, says of this style as follows: "Some artists mature early, but do not grow. Their work today differs little from what they were producing ten or even twenty years ago. Such painters are easy to evaluate, and remain conveniently in a pigeonhole. But there are others who never stop growing. It is therefore doubly important in an era of snap judgments, to focus attention, not upon the latest creation of a particular painter, but upon the chain of circumstances, experiences and technical experiments that went into the making of her paintings. "Today, Anna E. Meltzer works towards an idea rather than the projection of facts. But her ability to do so has been a matter of evolution and is the result of hard work, and a mind open to suggestion and change." These words, written by Dorothy Grafly in 1948, still express exactly what the artist has felt and done and is still continuing to do. Another art critic and editor, Helen Boswell of the Art Digest and other publications, said of her the following: "Having encountered the work of Anna E. Meltzer I knew that here was a special talent that stood head and shoulders above others. On a trip to the artist's studio, it was a splendid surprise to discover real talent and real purpose. A sincere and highly accomplished artist recording human documents of people caught exactly as we have seen them almost every day of our lives. She goes below the surface in her characterizations and gives an inner vision which lifts her up to higher spiritual levels. Not too often encountered, this is a special gift. An amazing draughtsman with a strong touch and good solid color she has painted an unusual and highly artistic group of figure paintings.
"Surroundings are important to her. She paints types but puts them in their proper places. This is literality combined with executive skill and glowing color. With her unerring skill, a special undisguised talent and deep spiritual grace, Mrs. Meltzer has all of life before her. The hand of the critic clasps the hand of the painter.
"We now come
to the newest expression of Mrs. Meltzer's art, which she calls prismatism.
She says "it grew from the spectralistic approach which was three dimensional
form, built up of multi-colors. When color triumphed over form, it seemed
logical that contour should replace form, which proved a first step in the
direction which led to prismatism." "The prism plane or triangle
for shape and refracted color was introduced within the contour and extended
into space. After numerous experiments I found that contour, too, was restricting.
I was convinced that the absence of it could be a strong contributing factor
to the concept of the aesthetic whole. A transparent effect can be achieved
if the color and value relations are true. When several shapes are super-imposed
and interrelated colors become more neutral, a greater spatial depth is
"The unrevealed is a good reason for keeping the artist's spirit alive." Mr. Rene Shapsak, sculptor, artist, curator of the Palathea Museum of Modern Art in London, Ontario, and a long time admirer of the work of Mrs. Meltzer, wrote in evaluating this dynamic new style as follows: "The paintings of Anna Meltzer are an intended expression of an abstract concept. They are finely cut to become co-existing from an artistic viewpoint. "This mass is divided into translucent architectonic improbability or a combination of solid voluminous shapes framed in diamond shapes next to their partners that continue to integrate color-form in an enormous play of an abstract beauty of transparency. "Contemporary works of art need not be horizontal nor vertical. Should they be restful or in motion? Form in free space or organic forms? No, Anna's paintings recede to themselves in a spiritual concept of pure mind, walls giving way by dividing abstractly and breathing luminous color for their poetic harmony. "Like a labyrinth of a mythical Greek temple built by the sound of music played by Amphion, so do these works have a self-sufficiency only lyrically attached to their neighbors. "I must say that these paintings call for eternal beauty, harmony and peace." Bernard Murphy, gallery director, talented artist and writer, whose gallery, The Pacem In Terris in New York City will be the scene of Anna's next one-man exhibition, says this of her work: "New things almost always attract, even if the interest is but transitory; but when the thing promises to perpetuate its beauty and its interest, it possesses something to enlist a permanent belief in its behalf. "Anna Meltzer holds a belief in the absolute, she also consents that there can be no positive thought without its substantiated counter thought. It is as hard to answer, What is Music? as to tell what is Poetry. When the composer has conceived it in his mind, the music itself is not there; when he has called together his orchestra from north and south it is there but gone again when they disperse. It is ever being born anew but only to die away. "We believe that music and poetry are spiritual essences, which touch spiritual strings in our beings, and that though we feel and appreciate them, they are too ethereal for outward sense, and must forever be buried in the depths of emotion and sensation, only to be fully understood when this mind bursts from its material bounds, and reaches up into a world where poetry and music live in visible presence. "With this belief have we not the evidence that a Meltzer painting is a true reflection of the better life constantly within us?" From Anna E. Meltzer's very first exhibition at the Vendome Gallery in New York City to this latest show at the Pacem in Terris Gallery, there has been a steady stream of approbation, acceptance and interest in what this ever-growing, forward looking, ever young artist will do next. There is no doubt that it will be fresh, colorful, exuberant, and a continued inspiration to her students, her public and to the art world itself.
Director of the Barzansky Gallery