Malcah Zeldis

(The Bronx, New York, 1931 - )
Lives New York City
Malcah Zeldis, was born Mildred Brightman in New York City in 1931.  Raised in Detroit, she was heavily influenced by visits to the Detroit Institute of Art and began painting at the age of 16.  She moved to Israel in 1949 and changed her name to Malcah, Hebrew for “queen”.  While in Israel, Zeldis married, had children and lived on several collective farms before returning to the United States in 1958.  She painted casually through the 1970s before devoting her energies to her art and studies, attaining a degree in early childhood education from Brooklyn College.  While her work is often considered “folk” her advanced degree make her an unusual example of folk artists, who are typically self-taught.  Her painting often depicts urban life, historical and religious events, heroes and heroines and events from her own life.  Her work has been widely exhibited, including a solo show at the Museum of American Folk Art at New York University in 1988.  It was the first time the museum had presented a one-person exhibition of the work of a living folk artist.  Her work is included in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and was used for the invitation and posters for the travelling exhibition, American Art on the Move, which toured museums in 2001.
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Online Collection paid for with a grant from
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