Anything Went: Florine Stettheimer at Columbia University

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Florine Stettheimer's studio on West 40th Street, overlooking Bryant Park.

“Fame is a most uncertain garment,” art critic Henry McBride wrote in 1946, in a catalogue essay for an exhibition of work by an old artist friend. “Yet fame, apparently, is what the Museum of Modern Art now desires for the late Florine Stettheimer.”

McBride had high hopes for the MoMA show, which was organized by no less a luminary than Marcel Duchamp, who had once tutored Stettheimer in French, and who admired her work—party scenes from her family’s salon, and wispy, witty, faux naïf portraits of that group’s illustrious members. Stettheimer, who often appeared in her own paintings, sometimes hiding under a wide hat, had died two years earlier, at the age of 72. She had staged only a single one-person show during her lifetime; none of the pieces in it sold. Read More