PRINT Summer 1995


Jutta Koether talks with Elisabeth Sussman

I THINK OF FLORINE STETTHEIMER as both an outlaw and an insider, a condition peculiar to the haute-bohemian milieu she knew well in ’20s and ’30s New York. Her paintings offer social commentary but they also celebrate sheer leisure, and the time is ripe to shed a broader light on them, and on Stettheimer’s whole persona. So far, interest in this artist and phenomenon (1871–1944) has been relatively clandestine. One signpost was Linda Nochlin’s 1980 essay “Rococo Subversive,” which detected in Stettheimer’s paintings, and in her way of fusing life and work, evidence of the possibility of being simultaneously a “snob and social activist”; another was Elisabeth Sussman’s 1980 Stettheimer exhibition at the ICA in Boston. Still, she remains something of a cult taste.

Now, 15 years after her first Stettheimer exhibition, Sussman is once again trying to introduce a broader audience to the work,

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