The life and artistic journey of Ludmilla Meilerts (1908 – 1997) is reflected in the originality and strength of her paintings. Her intense personal struggle after fleeing her home in post-war Latvia to becoming a notable Australian artist is a larger than life story of resilience and determination.
Metropolis Gallery is proud to present Ludmilla Meilerts: Flowers, focusing on works from the 1960s to the 1980s. Meilerts’ long and successful artistic career spanned five decades and included most genres of art, but she returned again and again to the simple, honest statement of a vessel holding flowers. Arrays of Christmas Lilies, Chrysanthemums, Roses, Tulips, Poppies or whatever flowers were in season at the time were collected and painted.
Her mastery of colour and the glowing sensation of light passing through translucent petals resulted in the creation of many wonderful floral works. She completed most paintings in a single sitting of about two hours and avoided any reworking of the immediate sensation.
In the inaugural 1950 Dunlop Art Prize (at the time the richest national art award in Australia) Meilerts shared fifth prize with Fred Williams. First prize was won by Sidney Nolan, second by William Frater, with Arthur Boyd third and Charles Bush and Len Annois sharing fourth. She was a Dunlop Prize finalist again in 1951, 1952, 1953 and 1954, placing Ludmilla alongside the foremost Australian artists of the time.
Ludmilla participated in important Victorian Artists Society (VAS) group shows in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, won the prestigious Gosford Art Prize in 1971 and the coveted VAS Pirstitz Gold Medal in 1982 which honoured her contribution to the Society and to Australian art.
Meilerts is represented in many Australian private and public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of NSW, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Western Australia and regional Galleries at La Trobe Valley, Bendigo, and Portland in Victoria and Gosford in New South Wales.