Florine Stettheimer

Florine Stettheimer

Florine Stettheimer (August 19, 1871 - May 11, 1944) was an American artist. She has been described as "a Deco-influenced early Modernist who’s never really gotten her due". [Mulcahy, Susan, [http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/columns/intelligencer/11473 "Columbian Art: How a university bequest can go wrong"] , "New York Magazine", March 14, 2005. Retrieved December 15, 2006]

Stettheimer was born in Rochester, New York to a wealthy family. She spent much of her early life traveling, studying art in Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and Switzerland. She studied for three years in the mid-1890s at the Art Students League in New York, but came into her own artistically upon her permanent return to New York after the start of World War I. In October 1916, the only one-person exhibition of her work during her lifetime took place at New York's Knoedler & Company. She exhibited 12 "high-keyed, decorative paintings", none of which were sold. [Morgan, Lee Ann, [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0425/is_n2_v55/ai_18533939 "The Life and Art of Florine Stettheimer"] , "Art Journal", Summer 1996. Retrieved December 16, 2006]

Cushioned by family resources, Stettheimer refrained from self-promotion and considered her painting "an entirely private pursuit". She intended to have her works destroyed after her death, a wish defied by her sister Henrietta, her executor. [Naves, Mario, [http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/14/sept95/naves.htm "Florine Stettheimer: Manhattan Fantastica"] , "The New Criterion", September 1995. Retrieved December 16, 2006]

Stettheimer's privileged position pervades her work. As one critic has written, "money she regarded as a birthright, decidedly not something to be flaunted in the shape of a dozen yachts, but rather to be used as a palliative against the more unpleasant aspects of the world outside... In this frame of mind, she felt free to depict life as a series of boating parties, picnics, summertime naps, parades and strolls down Fifth Avenue." [Winkfield, Trevor, [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1248/is_n1_v84/ai_17803663/pg_1 "Very Rich Hours - Artist Florine Stettheimer"] , "Art in America", January 1996. Retrieved December 16, 2006]

She created the sets and costumes for the 1934 production of "Four Saints in Three Acts", an opera by Virgil Thompson with a libretto by Gertrude Stein. Her designs, which used cellophane in innovative ways, proved to be the project for which she was best known during her lifetime. [Danforth, Ellen Zak, [http://webtext.library.yale.edu/xml2html/beinecke.stetthe.con.html Florine and Ettie Stettheimer Papers] , Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale Collection of American Literature, September 1987. Retrieved December 16, 2006]

She assisted her sister Carrie in the creation of the Stettheimer Dollhouse, now in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York. The house is a whimsical depiction of an upper-class residence, filled with works by Stettheimer's artist friends, including William Zorach, Alexander Archipenko, and Gaston Lachaise. [Raynor, Vivien, [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE7D7113FF937A15753C1A965958260 "Art: A Rogues' Gallery of Artists and Esthetes] , "The New York Times", October 14, 1993. Requires registration; retrieved December 16, 2006]

Stettheimer has been the subject of retrospectives at institutions including the Museum of Modern Art (in 1946) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (in 1995).


Further reading

Print biographies

* Bloemink, Barbara J., "The Life and Art of Florine Stettheimer", Yale University Press, 1995.
* Tyler, Parker, "Florine Stettheimer: A Life in Art", Farrar, Straus, 1963.


* Liles, Melissa M., "Florine Stettheimer: A Re-Appraisal of the Artist in Context," Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, 1994.

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