Phyllis Seltzer was born in Detroit, Michigan, and has been a Clevelander (Ohio) since the age of three. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa, majoring in printmaking under Mauricio Lasansky. Post Graduate studies include architecture at the University of Michigan, and history of technology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Architectural essence pervades Seltzer's oil paintings, which become the plates for works skillfully adapted to create giant prints in a heat-transfer technique that enriches the image as it allows for multiple small-edition printing. Extensively traveled, with a home in Venice, Italy, Seltzer captures the essence of her favorite cities - Cleveland, New York, Chicago and Venice, as recognizable "city"scapes filled with recognizable landmarks that take liberties with things as they are. According to Seltzer, "I am preoccupied with the actual world and yet wish to design that world - structure it - with color, line and (technical means) so that I create my own aesthetic."
In 1952, the year Seltzer finished college, the Cleveland Museum of Art bought her etching Stage of Life. The same print won first prize in an international print show and was purchased by the Brooklyn Museum. The following year Seltzer received a Tiffany fellowship, capping a notably auspicious beginning to her career. In 1989 she became one of the relative few to have a work, Venetian Sky, a heat-transfer print of Venetian landmark buildings, commissioned for publication by the Print Club of Cleveland. In 1993, Interplay, another heat-transfer print, was purchased by the Cleveland Museum of Art, the same year she finished a major mural for Cleveland's new sports complex, Jacob's Field.
Seltzer has exhibited her art in nearly 50 exhibitions throughout this country and in Germany, Hong Kong and Italy.
Seltzer's work is included in more than 30 public and corporate collections, among them the Brooklyn Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art in Ottawa, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Center for Contemporary Art in Cleveland, the Art Institute of Chicago, the New York Historical Society, the New York City Public Library, The New Akron Art Museum, Butler Museum of American Art, Cleveland Public Library, London Ontario Library Collection, Minnesota Museum of Art, and Museum of the City of New York. Corporate collections include BP America in London, England, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Citibank in New York City and United Airlines in Chicago.
Phyllis Seltzer works in her studios in Cleveland and Venice, and is represented by galleries in Cleveland, Columbus, Boston, Chicago, New York and Washington, DC.