Modern Art Monday Presents: Florine Stettheimer, Family Portrait I

family portrait I photo fs by gail worley
Photo By Gail

In Florine Stettheimer’s frequent group portraits, her family and friends are not only clearly identifiable, but represented in attitudes that express their inner selves — an idea with roots in Symbolist painting of the late nineteenth century.  In Family Portrait I (1915), she shares an elegant afternoon outdoors wither sisters and mother. Ettie, at left with a Japanese parasol is turned away, conversing with Carrie, who gazes at the viewer. Florine, too, looks outward, presiding over each bouquet of flowers and a dish of fruit that pays homage to the apples of Paul Cezanne. Their mother, Rosetta, the proper Victorian in black, is reading a novel by Ettie, the family intellectual.

Thick brushwork, deep jewel-tone colors, shallow perspective, and  wealth of surface pattern all suggest Stettheimer’s familiarity with Post-Impressionist painters such as Pierre Bonnard and Paul Gauguin, infused with her own brand of social perceptiveness

Photographed in the Jewish Museum in NYC.

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