Arthur Meltzer was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, son of Louis and Cecelia Meltzer who had come to this country from Lithuania three years earlier. Finding no art courses in high school Meltzer elected in manual training, supplementing his school schedule with a Saturday art class taught by Robert Koehler. Following graduation, he apprenticed at a stained glass studio, remaining there for six years until the outbreak of World War 1, where he enlisted in the army. Nearing the war’s close, Meltzer met fellow artist Kenneth Earl Bates who persuaded him to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). It was through Bates and that Meltzer met the artists Charles H. Davis, Robert Brackman, and Carl Lawless.
Meltzer enrolled at PAFA in 1919, studying under Daniel Garber, Joseph T. Pearson, Hugh H Breckenridge, and Arthur B. Carles, among others. Two years later, he won a Cresson Travelling Scholarship and together with other awardees, including Bates, traveled across Europe. Acclaimed painter William McGregor Paxton joined the group in touring Italy, to the young artists’ delight.
After completing a third year at PAFA, Meltzer took time to paint the landscape of Pennsylvania Dutch country in Berks County. It was around this time that his work began to attract attention and acclaim. One such supporter was Harriet Sartain, head of the Philadelphia School of Design (now Moore College of Art). She reached out to him with a position at the school, which he gladly accepted, teaching there from 1924 to 1949. While at Moore, Meltzer met and married fellow artist Paulette van Roekens.
In 1983 Moore College of Art, in recognition of his many years of devoted service, conferred upon Meltzer the rank of Professor Emeritus. His works remain in most of the major national museums, as well as in private collections.