Florine Stettheimer is not a household name like her contemporary Georgia O’Keeffe, but she was a key figure in the modern art scene of New York in the early 20th century. You may not have heard of her yet, but in her time she was acclaimed by artists, curators and critics. Even Andy Warhol called her his “favourite artist.”
And we’re getting to know her! Opening next October, Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry, marks the first major exhibition of Stettheimer’s work. It’s organized by the AGO and the Jewish Museum, New York.
Born in Rochester, N.Y., Stettheimer studied art from a young age, and later began hosting salons at her family’s home that featured a who’s who of the art world, including Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Stieglitz, Carl Van Vechten, Georgia O’Keeffe, Elie Nadelman, Gaston Lachaise and many others. Though she painted extensively over four decades, she frequently turned down opportunities for solo shows. O’Keeffe even wrote to Stettheimer, “I wish you would become ordinary like the rest of us and show your paintings this year!” After her death, her close friend Marcel Duchamp organized a posthumous retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1946 that went on to travel to San Francisco and Chicago.
An early feminist, Stettheimer focused on the female form and point of view. Her work in this regard culminated in 1915 when she completed Self-Portrait, one of the first known examples of a woman painting herself entirely nude. Stettheimer was also a sharp observer of New York City life, capturing its frivolity and infectious energy with her vibrant canvases. Despite her lack of notoriety, she remains a keen influence on contemporary artists working today.
Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry will open in Toronto on October 21, 2017. The exhibition is included in the price of general admission and is free for AGO members. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at www.ago.net/general-membership.
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