Zelda Yarmuk 1928-2010 Artist, Poet A Home for Zelda Zelda was an artist and our neighbor. Upon her recent passing, we were moved to share the pr

Zelda Yarmuk


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Artist, Poet

A Home for Zelda

Zelda was an artist and our neighbor. Upon her recent passing, we were moved to share the prolific poetry and art work she left behind. Much of her work was created out of both a sense of grief from losing a young child to leukemia, as well as the joy of making new friends every day and reaching out to the people in the New York community around her.

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Zelda was a self-taught artist who created new pieces almost every day of her life.

She was born June 14, 1928 and passed away March 21, 2010 in New York City.

Zelda taught high school in NYC for 40 years and tutored children in Harlem. She also did journalistic work for a variety of small local newspapers in the city.

Many of her pieces span the past 35 years of her life. Her art was showcased at The National Association of Women Artists in Rutgers: Recent Acquisitions 1999-2002, as well as in local banks, group shows, and the Greenwich Village Art Show. She was a member of the National Association of Women Artists (NAWA), where she exhibited a yearly show, and was the recipient of a prize one year. Another of her pictures is in the permanent collection of the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Museum in Rutgers, New Jersey.

She studied at the Art Students League in Manhattan, becoming a life member. Further study was done at the Institute of Art in Napeague, Long Island, the Provincetown Workshop in Massachusetts, and in Positano, Italy. For the last 40-50 years she had come to rely on Tombow markers, primarily for their colors, portability, and ease of use. She called her 5"x7" drawings on paper, "Talking Pictures".


Samples of Zelda's Work

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Biopsy Report

When the doctor
in a hurry
says I’m o.k.
and leaves me a copy
of the lab findings,
I gulp; and
behind the bathroom door,
cry for joy,
and think next time…

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My Art

Can I sustain an uncertain self
letting viewers also question.

  So when they say
  “the eyes aren’t even”
  or say nothing, 

I allow them that,
accept their doubts,
as well as mine.

My Heart

My heart knows
I am frightened,
and like a toddler
in distress
bangs the floor
hour after hour
and then subsides
all but the memory.

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Zelda's Work Space


What if…

What if, having boarded
The first train that arrived-
Not the “right” train…
I stayed on past the transfer point
And rode for a while, or longer,
Disembarking at some station,
Up or down or across the platform
Or out onto the street,
And comb the avenues
Looking for something
New, or similar,
And stop perhaps for coffee or tea
Before returning to my home base
Wondering what I sought
And am seeking yet, and still…




three score and fifteen

with a broken heart

false teeth

a lonely bed

But hopeful

and grateful.


"What I draw are inner landscapes. My work is expressionistic, or drawing with the 'inner eye.' It is personal, naive, eccentric, experimental and direct. I work for immediacy, without sketches in the main, trusting my drawing will reveal my thinking or feeling. I require no model outside of myself, and when working from a model or scene, my vision is my own. I love primitive art, its force, simplicity and imagination. Eskimo and Peruvian art are favorites, as are the work of Paul Klee and early Jean Dubuffet. I enjoy Edouard Vuillard's interiors, Karel Appel's vigor, Emil Nolde's flowers, the German Expressionists' color, the 'effortless' joy of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy, and the humor and mystery of the Surrealists."

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Please let us know if you might have a place for Zelda's unique works in your collection.

Thank you for your consideration.
Adam McKinney and Daniel Banks, Ph.D.


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