Florine Stettheimer

Columbia University

Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944) was as ultrasophisticated as she was primitivistic. Her mature paintings—one of the very best is, I think, a circus picture in the Hartford Atheneum—combine a delicately dematerialized Rococo handling of the figure, in an airy space, with an orange icelike brightness of hue.

From February to March, Columbia University exhibited more than 60 of Stettheimer’s paintings, watercolors, and drawings, together with sketchbooks and scenographic projects, in the rotunda of Low Memorial Library. The works, which comprise a gift to the University of the Ettie Stettheimer estate, are mostly undated, but they represent mainly the earlier part of the artist’s production, before she refined what an anthologist would consider to be her definitive style. For that reason, it is interesting to see both her more academic origins, which were actually European, and also works that

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