Women 's History Month: Spotlight on Paulette Van Roekens

03/23/2018     News and Film

In honor of Women 's History Month, Freeman 's is highlighting important women artists whose work has shaped their field.Paulette Victorine J. van Roekens was born on New Year 's Eve in 1895, in Château-Thierry, France, halfway between Paris and the northwestern town of Reims. Her parents emigrated to the United States when Paulette was very young, settling in the Philadelphia suburb of Glenside. She would call the area home for the rest of her life.In 1915, she enrolled at Moore College of Art and Design, then called Philadelphia School of Design for Women. Less than a decade later, van Roekens became a professor at the venerable women 's-only institution for nearly forty years. She trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, as well as the Graphic Sketch Club of Philadelphia, where she studied sculpture. It was through her career at Moore College that she also met her husband, the artist Arthur Meltzer (1893-1989), another well-known Pennsylvania Impressionist in the New Hope School. The couple married in 1927, and traveled together to Europe on several occasions. They bought a home in Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania, and lived and worked there until their deaths.While her style is highly influenced by Impressionism, van Roekens also relied heavily on her academic training, particularly drawing. She worked in multiple media, but is best known for her oils and pastels. In her early career, she concentrated on still-lifes, but as she developed her style over the years, she turned more toward landscapes. She held her first one-woman exhibition in 1920, and would hold more than a dozen more throughout the course of her life and career, with the last held just before her death in 1988.This spring, Freeman 's will offer van Roekens ' “Girard Trust Building: Third Liberty Loan, 1918” (estimate $20,000-30,000), as part of The Collection of Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton. The present lot depicts the Third Liberty Loan parade in 1918 in front of the grand Girard Trust Building, at the corner of South Broad and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. During World War I, the United States borrowed monies from Americans, issuing bonds through the Treasury Department, the collection of which were called ‘Liberty Loan Campaigns. ' The country amassed much of the funding for the war through these campaigns, using the money to supply and distribute troops and equipment. Parades such as these were joyful and celebratory displays well received by Philadelphians. Today, the Girard Trust Building is currently the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Built between 1905 and 1908, it exemplifies the Classical Revival style meant to emulate the architecture of the Pantheon in Rome.View the Catalogue