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Zacha's Bay Window Gallery > Artists  > Hilda Pertha

Hilda Pertha (1911-2011)

Hilda Pertha Photo

For over fifty years, since 1960 when Bill Zacha brought her to teach at the Mendocino Art Center's first Summer Session, Hilda Pertha was integral to the art life of Mendocino.

Pertha's painting career was launched in 1944 with her first solo exhibit, held at the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Since then Pertha has exhibited in museums and public galleries in the United States, France, Spain, Peru and Norway. WESTART magazine published over 200 of her articles on painting.

European travels and years of residence in New York, Paris and other metropolitan centers have had their influence, but Hilda Pertha's work also affirms her profound connection to the fjords of Norway, the mountains and coastline of Southern France, the forests and gardens of the Mendocino Coast, and Mendocino Bay in all its moods, a constant presence just outside her studio.

Pertha's subjects are abstracted from Nature; through her collages and paintings she explores underlying energies and movements from flower to star, from earth to sea to sky. Her spectacular abstract oils have been called "visual music."

A French critic once wrote, "Hilda Pertha's compositions are animated by wind, fog, and other rhythms which affect the soul while out in nature."


Born in 1911, in New Jersey, I have devoted a lifetime to art.
My primary medium is oil, with periods of exploration into sculpture, prints, water media, collage and industrial design.
Dividing my time between city and country living, I spent the early years in the Philadelphia area.  I moved to New York City in 1946, left for Europe in 1954, then returned to the USA and San Francisco in 1959.

Dorr Bothwell persuaded me to come back to the United States. She wanted to take a sabbatical and asked me to take over her classes. Dorr Bothwell is also the reason I came to Mendocino in 1960, as the first painting teacher at the new Mendocino Art Center. A mutual acquaintance had recommended her to Bill Zacha; she asked me to come hold the job for her.

I never intended to stay in Mendocino; I kept leaving, but something always pulled me back. Over time I have returned to Europe for sojourns in Paris and Norway, but I have lived in Mendocino since 1979, painting, exhibiting, writing and giving occasional seminars and lectures.

At present, I am working on a number of canvasses, most with garden themes.
My work is based on natural rhythms with a slant toward abstraction.

- Mendocino (2008)

See the archive of Hilda Pertha's artwork.


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