Florine Stettheimer, Portrait of My Sister, Ettie Stettheimer, 1923, oil on canvas laid on board, 40 3/8 x 26 1/4 in. (102.2 x 66.8 cm), Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University in the City of New York, Gift of the Estate of Ettie Stettheimer, 1967 (1967.17.09)
Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944) was a well-known New York City-based painter and
designer who, with her sisters Ettie and Carrie, held regular salons in their home on
the Upper West Side, socializing with avant-garde artists and writers such as
Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Stieglitz, and Leo Stein. Stettheimer initially studied at the
Art Students’ League, then spent nearly 20 years in Europe with her mother and sisters,
where she was exposed to early modernist art forms such as Post-Impressionism and
Fauvism, which were influential on her art. After 1917 she developed her own
idiosyncratic, fluid style that remains influential on some artists today.
“Stettheimer’s work fascinates viewers because it offers a new, feminist vision about
modernism in the early twentieth century,” said Roberto C. Ferrari, Curator of Art
Properties. “Rather than canvases of non-objective abstractions or gestural
brushstrokes of color, Stettheimer’s paintings emphasize narrativity and frequently
depict recognizable people in her life, but represented as if they are lithe, sinuous
dancers in timeless landscapes. We are thrilled to participate in this exhibition and
bring Stettheimer’s extraordinary work into public view.”
Columbia University holds the largest collection of Stettheimer’s works, including more
than 60 paintings, drawings, and decorative arts in Art Properties, Avery Library. The
Stettheimer holdings in RBML include sketchbooks, archival papers, stage props and
costumed maquettes. The Stettheimer collection was a bequest to Columbia’s
collections in 1967 from the estate of her sister Ettie, a graduate of Barnard College.
The Lenbachhaus in Munich is renowned internationally for its collection of works by the
Blue Rider artists, an important modernist group active in Munich prior to World War I.
In an effort to introduce European audiences to alternative approaches of modernism,
the Lenbachhaus will introduce Stettheimer as one of a series of artists who developed
their own distinctive visual languages and pioneered new approaches to art.
Art Properties oversees the art collections owned by Columbia University. Comprised of approximately 15,000 works of art in
all media, the collections include works from all cultures and time periods. Highlights include public outdoor sculpture with works by
Auguste Rodin, Daniel Chester French, Henry Moore, and others; fine art photography from daguerreotypes to Andy Warhol polaroids
to contemporary works; and the Sackler Collection of over 2,000 Asian art works. The Art Properties collections are available for
research consultation and curricular use, and also may be requested for loan to special exhibitions.