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Paulette Van Roekens

 (1896 - 1988)
Paulette Victorine J Van Roekens was active/lived in Pennsylvania / France.  Paulette Van Roekens is known for impressionist landscape, urban scene and genre painting, teaching.

Paulette Van Roekens

Biography from Spanierman Gallery (retired)

A well-known figure in Philadelphia art circles from the 1920s through the 1960s, Paulette Van Roekens enjoyed a long and successful career as a painter and teacher. An impressionist known for her love of color and her robust handling of paint, she applied her creative energies to depicting landscapes, still lifes, and urban scenes, as well as vivacious depictions of people engaged in leisure pursuits and other joyful occupations. As noted by the critic Henry C. Pitz, "She gravitates toward subjects that sparkle with pattern and bright hues—the circus, the theatre . . . the summer life of Philadelphia's parks . . . The Atlantic beach . . . She responds to the gay and alert aspects of life.1

The daughter of Victor van Roekens, a horticulturalist, and his wife, Jeanne, the artist was born on January 1st 1896 in Chateau-Thierry France, about fifty miles from Paris. Not long after Paulette's birth, her family immigrated to America, settling in Glenside, Pennsylvania, where Victor established a tree farm.

Van Roekens initiated her artistic training at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (known today as Moore College of Art and Design) in 1915. She went to on to receive the school's John Sartain Fellowship, and through this means established an enduring friendship with Harriet Sartain, a landscape painter and the dean of the school. Van Roekens later undertook further training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and at the Graphic Sketch Club (known today as the Fleischer Art Memorial). Her teachers during these years included the painter Leopold Seyffert, the sculptor and painter Charles Grafly, and the impressionists Joseph T. Pearson, Jr. and Henry Bayley Snell.

By 1918 Van Roekens was exhibiting her paintings at the annual exhibitions of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Two years later she began a seven-year teaching stint at the Graphic Sketch Club. In 1923, Van Roekens was appointed to the faculty of Moore College, where she taught drawing and painting. It was there that she met Arthur Meltzer (1893-1989), a painter of landscapes, portraits and still lifes and head of the college's Fine Arts Department, whom she married in June of 1927. The couple subsequently moved into an old stone farmhouse in Trevose, northeast of Philadelphia, and went on to raise two children in addition to commuting to their jobs in the city. When the state acquired their property in order to build a turnpike, they constructed a new house in Huntingdon Valley, in the Valley Forge area of western Pennsylvania. Van Roekens remained an influential member of Moore College's Art Department until her retirement in 1961, at which time she was awarded an honorary doctorate. One year later she became professor emeritus.

In addition to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1918-34, 1937-39), Van Roekens also participated in many exhibitions at the Plastic Club in Philadelphia, where she won a gold medal in 1920, and at the Philadelphia Sketch Club, where she received a gold medal in 1923. Throughout the 1920s and 30s, she exhibited intermittently at many national venues, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Carnegie Institute, the National Academy of Design, the Newport Art Association and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. A retrospective of Van Roekens work was held at the Moore Institute of Art in 1961. Her professional affiliations included the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, the Art Alliance of America and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Paulette Van Roekens died in Huntingdon Valley on January 11th 1988 at the age of ninety-two. Representative examples of her work can be found in public collections throughout Pennsylvania, including the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Graphic Sketch Club, the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, and the Reading Public Museum.


©The essay herein is the property of Spanierman Gallery, LLC and is copyrighted by Spanierman Gallery, LLC. It may not be reproduced without written permission from Spanierman Gallery, LLC nor shown or communicated to anyone without due credit being given to Spanierman Gallery, LLC.

Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.
Paulette VanRoekens was born in Chateau-Thierry, France on New Year's day 1896, the daughter of Victor and Jeanne VanRoekens.  She attended the Philadelphia School of Art, Science & Industry; the Graphic Sketch Club and the Pennsylvania Academy of Design (Philadelphia)with Samuel Murray, L.G Seyffert, J. Pearson, H.B. Snell and Charles Grafly.

From 1920-1923 she lived and painted at Long Wharf in Newport (RI).  She became a close friend of Old Lyme mentor Charles H. Davis.

Awards include: Plastic Club (gold); Philadelphia Sketch Club (medal); PAFA Fellowship Prize; Woodmere Art Gallery (2nd Prize; honorable mention 1956; Mary T. Mason prize, 1965). Work represented at: PAFA; Reading Museum; Penn. State College; School of Design for Women; Graphic Art Club; Woodmere Art Gallery; Allentown Museum; Bucks Country School Board; Laurel Highlands (Ligonier, PA).

She exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery (Washington, D.C.) annuals and at the NAD; Art Institute of Chicago; PAFA; Albright Art Gallery (Buffalo); Carnegie Institute (Pittsburgh, PA; Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC); Detroit Institute of Art (MI); Newport AA (RI) and in collections in South America. Van Roekens was given 14 solo shows including The Newport AA (1920, 1950), the Womens City Club (1939), McClees Gallery (PA, 1946), Philadelphia Art Alliance (1951), Moore Institute of Art (1961)and ten duo shows with her husband and fellow painter Arthur Meltzer (whom she married in 1927.

Positions: Instructor of drawing and painting in the Life Class at the Moore College of Art (1923-1961). She received a L.H.D. from Moore College (1961).

Style: impressionism. Typical subject matter: Country Fairs, beaches, picnics, circus scenes, ballet scenes, still lifes and women marching for Voting rights. Her canvases were quickly executed and are filled with bold color. Throughout her artistic career she fought to inform the public of the importance of American female painter's work.

VanRoekens and Meltzer lived in their Trevose, PA home from 1927 until their deaths. VanRoekens died in Pennsylvania on January 11, 1988.

Written and submitted by Patricia Jobe Pierce, historian

Biography from Newman Galleries
Paulette Van Roekens was born in France in 1896.  She studied at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Graphic Sketch Club, and also with Henry Snell, Joseph Pierson and Leopold Seyffert. Painting in oils and pastels, her technique is colorful and impressionistic.

The artist's works are at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the Reading Museum, the Woodmere Art Museum, the School of Design for Women Alumnae in Philadelphia (Moore College of Art and Design), and the Allentown Art Museum.

Her paintings have been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Chicago Art Institute, Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, and the National Academy of Design in New York.  She has also had numerous solo shows.

Ms. Van Roekens was an instructor at the Graphic Sketch Club, 1920 - 27 and assistant professor of painting and drawing at Moore College of Art, 1923-61.  She was married to noted painter Arthur Meltzer.  In the early 1940's, the couple lived in their Trevose home until representatives for the Pennsylvania Turnpike purchased their property.   In 1949, they moved to Huntingdon Valley.

Among her awards are the Bronze Medal First Prize at the Philadelphia Sketch Club; gold Medal First Prize from the Plastic Club, and the Mary T. Mason Prize at the Woodmere Art Museum in 1965.

The artist died in 1988.

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About  Paulette Van Roekens

Born:  1896 - Chateau Thierry, France
Died:   1988 - Huntington, Pennsylvania
Known for:  impressionist landscape, urban scene and genre painting, teaching