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Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944) was a New York original: a society lady who hosted an avant-garde salon in her Manhattan home, a bohemian and a flapper, a poet, a theater designer, and above all an influential painter with a sharp satirical wit. Stettheimer collaborated with Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson, befriended (and took French lessons from) Marcel Duchamp, and was a member of Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O'Keeffe's artistic and intellectual circle. Beautifully illustrated with 150 color images, including the majority of the artist's extant paintings, as well as drawings, theater designs, and ephemera, this volume also highlights Stettheimer's poetry and gives her a long overdue critical reassessment.
The essays published here — as well as a roundtable discussion by seven leading contemporary female artists — overturn the traditional perception of Stettheimer as an artist of mere novelties. Her work is linked not only to American modernism and the New York bohemian scene before World War II but also to a range of art practices active today. Flamboyant and epicurean, she was an astute documenter of New York and parodist of her social milieu; her highly decorative scenes borrowed from Surrealism and contributed to the beginnings of a feminist aesthetic.