Trivium Art History
The Artists

Florine Stettheimer1871 — 1944

Non-competitive art for the literati, gay and polyglot

Family Portrait, II, 1933

Non-competitive art for the literati, gay and polyglot

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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Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

1915
Lake Placid

Lake Placid

1919
Heat

Heat

1919
Music

Music

1920
Henry McBride, Art Critic

Henry McBride, Art Critic

1922
Portrait Of My Sister, Ettie Stettheimer

Portrait Of My Sister, Ettie Stettheimer

1923
Beauty Contest: To the Memory of P.T. Barnum

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

1924
Portrait of Marcel Duchamp

Portrait of Marcel Duchamp

1923-1926
The Cathedrals of Broadway

The Cathedrals of Broadway

1929
The Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue

The Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue

1931
Birthday Bouquet (Flowers With Snake)

Birthday Bouquet (Flowers With Snake)

1932
Family Portrait, II

Family Portrait, II

1933
The Cathedrals of Wall Street

The Cathedrals of Wall Street

1939
The Cathedrals of Art

The Cathedrals of Art

1942
Crystal Flowers: Poems and a Libretto

Crystal Flowers: Poems and a Libretto

Sad poems from a strange artist

1949
1801
Artist turns modernism into equal rights activism
Anne Goldthwaite
Art as prophesy
Maurice Denis
Florine Stettheimer
Moving objects multiply themselves
Giacomo Balla
Hard-smoking woman documents Canada's native people
Emily Carr
2000