The vividly colored paintings of Malcah Zeldis, one of America’s most popular self-taught artists, celebrate her life, her heroes, and major religious and historical events. She employs a lively narrative style to express her philosophy of life and her religious and personal beliefs, and she often includes herself as a character in her paintings, even when she is depicting a historical event or a fairy tale. Her art is bold, colorful, and expressionistic.
Zeldis began to paint when she was living on a kibbutz in Israel in the 1950s. However, after a well-known Israeli artist critiqued her work- noting in the process that he thought a “great artist is living in this kibbutz”- she was so overwhelmed that she did not paint again until after she returned to New York in 1958.
Zeldis has been a favorite of those collectors who moved from the romantic art of the early 20th century to the folk art that is popular today. In this sense, her work has served as a bridge between the two. Her paintings are of uniformly high quality and a delight on the walls. Serious collectors of contemporary folk art will want to consider her work for their collections.