Charles F. Mielatz

German , 1864 - 1919

Charles Frederick William Mielatz was born in Bredding, Germany in 1864. He arrived in this country as a young boy and studied at the Chicago School of Design. Mostly self-taught, his first prints were large New England landscapes reminiscent of the painter- etcher school of American art. In 1889 he was invited by the Iconofiles Society to produce a print of Wall Street. He fell in love with the urban landscape and for the rest of his life the majority of images he produced were of an urban scene.

He was a master technician in the field of etching, reworking many of his plates numerous times to produce the exact feeling that he was seeking. It is not unusual for him to have many states of each print. He was also one of the early pioneers of multi-plate color etchings in this country. The process dates back to the eighteenth century, however for most of the nineteenth century, it was not used. It is thought that the color prints of Mary Cassatt could have influenced him.

Mielatz was a member of the New York Etching Club, the Brooklyn Society of Etchers and was an associate member of the National Academy of Design. In 1906 he succeeded James David Smillie as the etching teacher at the National Academy, a position he held until his death in 1919.

Although there is no documentation that he influenced other artists who depicted New York City, his choice of etching style is similar to the drypoints that Martin Lewis produced in the late 1920s. Mielatz’s choice of subject matter is similar to that of John Sloan who started producing etchings of New York City in 1905.
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