Once upon a time, in a gayer, simpler New York, the old Delmonico was the hub of elegance and fashion. Today it has shed all its old charm and dignity and though it can look back upon a history of more than a hundred years it appears as uninviting, as depressing as any tawdry commercial building.
Only in the large, well lighted rooms of its top floor has it retained something of its old grace, and it is here that those artists who really wish to work have established their studios. Among them is Dina Melicov who is preparing herself for a one-man-show which she intends to hold next Winter in one of New York’s leading galleries.
Dina Melicov is a sculptress who won her laurels early in life, but who refuses to rest on them. Art is, for her, constant creation, constant development. One has to draw her out about her past history, about her past successes, but she speaks freely and with enthusiasm of the things she desires to do in the ever-beckoning golden tomorrow.
A graduate of Wadleigh High School, she showed such distinctive artistic gifts that instead of going to college she entered the art school of Solon Borglum. Their her talent developed so rapidly that the pupil soon became the teacher. She taught others the anatomy of the horse, an animal which she loves to create in all its power and strength and grace of movement. Her own work there was so outstanding that two distinctions came her way: she received the Jena d’Arc Medal from the Society of American Sculptors and the Bishop of Rhode Island commissioned herâ€”(a Jewess)â€”to create for his private chapel the Fourteen Stations of Christ in wood.
“I brought to this commission my own, my Jewish interpretation,” says Miss Melicov. “Christ, his disciples, his mother, the women who followed him and mourned him, I saw as Jews, as members of my own race, and it was the invader of Palestine, the Roman, who persecuted and tortured the gentle Jewish teacher who would not assimilate himself to an alien, a Roman civilization.”
GETS ART AWARD
This interpretation gained the approval of the Bishop who greatly honored the young Jewish artist. As a result another church, asked her to do some similar work and offered her a tempting commission. But Miss Melicov just then won an Art Scholarship from the Educational Alliance and so she set out to find in Paris new impressions and to obtain the instructions of the foremost European artists.
But though her two years there were fruitful and interesting enough, essentially her great gift remained uninfluenced by outside contacts. She was Dina Melicov when she went to Europe and she is Dina Melicov now, only more so. She still loves to do noble horses. Only this week she sold one done in wood to Mrs. Rand of Washington. And she still strives for simplicity and power so characteristic of her personal talent.
MRS. GOULD IN PRIVATE
Miss Melicov is marriedâ€”she is in private life Mrs. Gould, the wife of the well-known designer of modernistic furnitureâ€”and she has a very pretty little daughter. But neither marriage nor motherhood has altered her devotion to her artistic career.
“In the end,” she says, “it is not a moral, or an emotional, but merely an economic matter. If you can provide for your child adequate care you have the full right to develop your own personality. In fact, one serves one’s child better in this way. For in stunting one’s being, in sacrificing everything precious on the altar of motherhood one is apt to expect afterw##’s returns which would be a burden to the child. Not self-immolation but self-creation ought to be the watchword of the modern mother.”
And then she turns back to her work with an absorption which is in itself the sign-manual of genius.