Mitzi Melnicoff, Portrait of Albert Kligman

Mitzi Melnicoff: Portrait of Albert Kligman (1971) Woodcut
Title
Portrait of Albert Kligman
Date
1971
Medium
Woodcut
Credit Line
Gift of Drs. Albert M. and Lorraine Kligman, 2011
Dimensions
13 ½" x 12"

Mitzi Melnicoff depicts her husband, Dr. Albert Kligman, a renowned dermatologist and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. The portrait is a woodblock print with five colors; Melnicoff carved a separate woodblock to print each color. The bold lines and dramatic sense of light, with Kligman's face half in red and half in yellow, convey a powerful force of character.

Born in Philadelphia, Mitzi Melnicoff attended classes at the Graphic Sketch Club (now the Fleisher Art Memorial), Settlement Music School, and then Temple University's Tyler School of Art from 1939 to 1943. She worked as a professional illustrator at N. W. Ayers, Inc., in Philadelphia, and in the 1950s she worked as a freelance illustrator for Columbia Records and a number of magazines, including Fortune, Sports Illustrated, and Cosmopolitan. She was an instructor at the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) from 1962 until her untimely death in 1972.

Artist Larry Day, who was Melnicoff's close colleague, organized a memorial exhibition in her honor at Philadelphia College of Art in 1972. Day described Melnicoff as:

a painter of celebration. Her paintings echo over and over again her sense of richness, of joy, of love. . .  she continually strove to find greater and more expressive rhythms, fuller and more telling relationships, and bolder and deeper structures. Her paintings are odes to that which she knew so very well -the most mysterious and elusive of all the many aspects of life -the everyday, the common-place. She painted people sitting around, talking, reading, sleeping; in and out of the light, caught up in patterns which expand and illuminate them.

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