I wandered into the Jewish Museum on their free Saturday to see the Walter Benjamin but found myself at the Florine Stettheimer instead. What a lovely exhibit and what joy it inspires!
Florine’s work is an exuberant expression of play. An untrained artist but clearly creative and firing on many cylinders, the exhibit shows off this mind at work: intimate portraits, colors that reminded me of the great Maira Kalman’s work (see her Ted talk, but read her childrens books even more); large scale murals that reminded me of Alexander Calder’s circus brought to canvas; costumes, movies, photographs – Florine was expressing herself through art at all times.
Here’s the New York Times’s review of the Florine Stettheimer exhibit and here’s a great paragraph about it:
"Stettheimer’s mature works belong to a tradition of paintings as edge-to-edge fascinators that we almost cannot stop looking at or poring over, absorbing their colors, patterns and marvelous distortions of space, while trying to decipher their mysteries. You don’t hear history screeching to a halt, the way you do, say, with Picasso’s “Demoiselles d’Avignon,” but you know something marvelous — and radical — is going on."
It is a worth a trip to see this exhibit. It’s on at the Jewish Museum until September 24, 2017 and as I mentioned Saturdays are FREEEEEEE!
From the Jewish Museum:
"The artist Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944) is an icon of Jazz Age New York. Born to a wealthy Jewish family in Rochester, she studied at the Art Students League in New York City and then in Europe, where she encountered two profound influences: the Symbolist painters and poets and, on the eve of the Great War, the Ballets Russes. Returning to Manhattan, she hosted an elite salon together with her sisters Carrie and Ettie and their mother, Rosetta, attracting many of the leading lights of the artistic vanguard. Her circle included Alfred Stieglitz, Carl Van Vechten, Georgia O’Keeffe, Elie Nadelman, Gaston Lachaise, and many others. Among her intimate friends was Marcel Duchamp. Through over 50 paintings and drawings, a selection of costume and theater designs, photographs and ephemera, as well as critically acclaimed poems, the Jewish Museum will offer a timely reconsideration of this important American artist, revealing Stettheimer's singular and often satiric vision and significant role in American modern art. The exhibition highlights the artist's distinctly personal style of painting, Stettheimer's position amidst New York's artistic elite and avant-gardes, and her continued influence on artistic practice today."