Obelisk Art History
The Artists

Florine Stettheimer
Non-competitive art for the literati, gay and polyglot

Florine Stettheimer, The ArtistsFamily Portrait, II
Portrait of Florine Stettheimer

Florine Stettheimer lived in a strange world of wealth and travel at the dawn of the 20th century. Born into a family of German Jews, Florine and her two youngest sisters, Carrie and Ettie, are in many ways, archetypes of the ‘new woman’ — they refused marriage, lived with their mother, smoked cigarettes, and wore white satin pants.

The sisters, the ‘Stetties’, spent their 30’s in Germany, mingling with American ex-patriots, and studying art in Berlin, Stuttgart and Munich. At the beginning of WWI they returned to New York, where they turned their Upper West Side into a salon for the “contemporary literati, gay and polyglot New Yorkers and European expatriates”

The Stettheimer salon became a hub for art shows and parties, frequented by an extraordinary number of the great modern artists. Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Charles Demuth, and Marsden Hartley all drank and lounged and flirted with the Stettie sisters.

In the middle of this milieu, Florine painted — uninterested in acceptance by the art critics of the time, her work was part documentation and part mythology. She painted herself as a confidant odalisque, painted Duchamp perched on a Jack-on-the-Box, and recorded the decadent festival atmosphere of New York’s elite.

Though her paintings vibrate with color and life, Florine herself was a shy artist, uninterested in popular recognition. She had only one public solo show — at Manhattan’s Knoedler & Co art dealership, where none of her paintings sold. Florine’s considered her work to be an “entirely private pursuit” and requested that all her paintings be burned when she died. Luckily for us, her sister Ettie instead gifted her work to museums around the world, providing the future with a glimpse into the florid world of New York’s artistic playground at the turn of the century.


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Reed Enger, "Florine Stettheimer, Non-competitive art for the literati, gay and polyglot," in Obelisk Art History, Published February 24, 2016; last modified September 11, 2018, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/florine-stettheimer/.

Florine Stettheimer was a U.S. Female Artist and Outsider Artist born on August 29, 1871. Stettheimer died on May 11, 1944.

Self-Portrait, Florine Stettheimer

Self-Portrait 1915

Heat, Florine Stettheimer

Heat 1919

Lake Placid, Florine Stettheimer

Lake Placid 1919

Music, Florine Stettheimer

Music 1920

Henry McBride, Art Critic, Florine Stettheimer

Henry McBride, Art Critic 1922

Portrait Of My Sister, Ettie Stettheimer, Florine Stettheimer

Portrait Of My Sister, Ettie Stettheimer 1923

Beauty Contest: To the Memory of P.T. Barnum, Florine Stettheimer

Beauty Contest: To the Memory of P.T. Barnum 1924

Portrait of Marcel Duchamp, Florine Stettheimer

Portrait of Marcel Duchamp 1923 – 1926

The Cathedrals of Broadway, Florine Stettheimer

The Cathedrals of Broadway 1929

The Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue, Florine Stettheimer

The Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue 1931

Birthday Bouquet (Flowers With Snake), Florine Stettheimer

Birthday Bouquet (Flowers With Snake) 1932

Family Portrait, II, Florine Stettheimer

Family Portrait, II 1933

The Cathedrals of Wall Street, Florine Stettheimer

The Cathedrals of Wall Street 1939

The Cathedrals of Art, Florine Stettheimer

The Cathedrals of Art 1942

Crystal Flowers: Poems and a Libretto, Florine Stettheimer

Crystal Flowers: Poems and a Libretto 1949

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