Stettheimer, Florine

Stettheimer, Florine,

1871–1944, American modernist painter, b. Rochester, N.Y., studied Art Students League, New York City (1892–95). She was exposed to the many forms of early modernism while her family lived for two decades in Europe. At the start of World War I they returned to New York, where she and her two sisters hosted a salon frequented by avant-garde artists and others, including as Marcel DuchampDuchamp, Marcel
, 1887–1968, French painter, brother of Raymond Duchamp-Villon and half-brother of Jacques Villon. Duchamp is noted for his cubist-futurist painting Nude Descending a Staircase,
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, Charles DemuthDemuth, Charles
, 1883–1935, American watercolor painter, b. Lancaster, Pa. At the age of 20 he began his art study under William Chase at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 1907 and again in 1912, Demuth visited Europe.
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, Marsden HartleyHartley, Marsden,
1877–1943, American painter widely considered the first great American modernist of the 20th cent., b. Lewiston, Maine. He was educated in Cleveland, but early in his career (1899) went to New York City, where he studied under William Merritt Chase and at
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, Alfred StieglitzStieglitz, Alfred
, 1864–1946, American photographer, editor, and art exhibitor, b. Hoboken, N.J. The first art photographer in the United States, Stieglitz more than any other American compelled the recognition of photography as a fine art.
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, and Carl Van VechtenVan Vechten, Carl
, 1880–1964, American music critic, novelist, and photographer, b. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, grad. Univ. of Chicago, 1903. While he was a leading music and dance critic in New York City, he celebrated such avant-garde figures as Igor Stravinsky and Isadora
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. Many of Stettheimer's works were portraits of these and other artistic friends and of their social milieu. She also painted crowded and exuberant scenes of parties and other amusements, portraying figures in a witty, sophisticated, and simplified style, with bright, saturated colors. Stettheimer is also known for the set and costumes she designed for Virgil ThomsonThomson, Virgil,
1896–1989, American composer, critic, and organist, b. Kansas City, Mo. Thomson studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. Until about 1926 he wrote in a dissonant, neoclassic style, but after his 16-minute quintet Sonata da chiesa
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 and Gertrude SteinStein, Gertrude,
1874–1946, American author and patron of the arts, b. Allegheny (now part of Pittsburgh), Pa. A celebrated personality, she encouraged, aided, and influenced—through her patronage as well as through her writing—many literary and artistic
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's opera Four Saints in Three Acts (1934) and for her Cathedrals series (Metropolitan Mus.): Broadway (1929), Fifth Avenue (1931), Wall Street (1939), and Art (1942). Her work is in many museums; Columbia has the largest collection.

Bibliography

See museum catalogs by B. Sussman et al. (1995) and M. Mühling and K. Althaus, ed. (2015); biographies by P. Tyler (1963) and B. J. Bloemink (1995).

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Stettheimer, Florine

(1871–1944) painter; born in Rochester, N.Y. In the 1890s she studied at the Art Students League, in Europe (1906–14), and settled in New York. She created the sets and costumes for Four Saints in Three Acts (1934), an opera by Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein. Her paintings were satiric, theatrical, and symbolic.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.