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Armistice Day

Period 1900-1919
Materials Oil on Canvas
Dimensions
W. 25 in; H. 30 in;
W. 63.5 cm; H. 76.2 cm;
Condition Excellent.
Creation Date 1919
Description Signed lower left. Complemented by a hand carved and gilt frame.

Paulette Van Roekens (1896 - 1988)

Initially trained as a sculptor, Paulette Van Roekens decided to focus on painting after two of her canvases were accepted for exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Born in France, she began her studies at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now Moore College) with Samuel Murray and Henry Snell. She then enrolled at the Graphic Sketch Club and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where she studied with Charles Graftly and Joseph Pearson. She taught at Moore College from 1923 to 1961.

Van Roekens met her husband, artist Arthur Meltzer, while both were teachers at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. The couple married in 1927, and together, renovated an old farm house in Trevose, Pennsylvania. Eventually this property was condemned for expansion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and they moved to nearby Huntingdon Valley, a town midway between New Hope and Philadelphia. There they painted together and frequently invited Moore College students to join them.

Van Roekens’ paintings are full of color and motion. Her compositions are universally appealing subjects, such as circuses, picnics, country fairs, beaches, themes from ballets and the theater, and crowded city views. Van Roekens enjoyed filling her paintings with figures and life, creating a body of work that is not only pleasing from an artistic viewpoint, but is also generally uplifting to look at. Many of her scenes are painted at nearby fairgrounds where an annual carnival is held called June Fête. Other favorite painting haunts for Van Roekens were the parks and bustling streets of Philadelphia and the beaches of New Jersey. She was also highly regarded for her still life painting.

She was a member of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Fellowship, the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, Moore College of Art Alumnae, the Old York Road Art Guild (founder) and the Woodmere Art Museum (Exhibition Committee).

Van Roekens exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the National Academy of Design, the Philadelphia Plastic Club (1920 Gold Medal), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Institute, the Philadelphia Sketch Club (1923 Gold Medal), the Corcoran Gallery Biennials, the Woodmere Art Gallery (1946 prize), the Philadelphia Art Club, the Boston Art Club, the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors (prize), the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Moore College (1961 retrospective).

Sources:
-New Hope for American Art by James M. Alterman
-Paulette Van Roekens, Philadelphia: Woodmere Art Gallery, 1966 (brochure)
-Intelligencer, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, March 28, 1962
Styles / Movements Impressionism, New Hope School
Incollect Reference Number 256718
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