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New! Splash into summer with Stettheimer 🌊

Lake Placid by Florine Stettheimer
8"x10" ($40) | 11"x14" ($85) | 16"x20" ($275)

Greetings, collectors! Summer has begun (unofficially) and we’re in the mood for some warm weather leisure. We’re heading lakeside with our newest Vintage Edition from American painter Florine Stettheimer: Lake Placid.

Originally created in 1919, Lake Placid is one of Stettheimer’s famed modernist depictions of the playful pursuit of pleasure, and a predecessor of sorts to Asbury Park South. Here, the artist reimagines the Rococo fête galante, portraying New York’s avant-garde enjoying a summer holiday at Camp Calumet, a resplendent escape from the city stifle. Stettheimer abandons her earlier naturalistic style in favor of faux-naïf figures, simplified in form and accented by a bold, nonsensical color palette characteristic of Fauvism.

Lake Placid is an exercise in duality and forward thinking. Stettheimer paints a group of cosmopolitan Manhattanites in a bucolic setting historically reserved for hunters, animals, and pastoral landscapes. The famed mountainous Adirondack region had been portrayed in paintings for centuries with solemnity and majestic realism. Stettheimer’s Adirondacks, however, are a jaunty backdrop for a jolly good time. She doubles down by rendering her traditionally arcadian atmosphere with a sharply modernist flourish—an arbitrary sense of scale, folk-like figures, and an emphasis on female subjects.

Stettheimer’s newly developed style didn’t cast aside all of her classic training however. A longtime student of European masters, Stettheimer revived several conventions from art history. Compressing space and time, she employs the Renaissance manner of simultaneous narrative, depicting many summer episodes and camp visitors together in one scene. Of these visitors, Stettheimer herself, wrapped in a hot pink robe and sun hat, turns sharply toward the viewer—a common practice of the eighteenth century conversation piece, where at least one subject looks through the picture plane into the viewer’s world.

The purpose of this convention? To draw you in. Stettheimer invites you to accompany her as she descends the stairs to the lake to rejoin her sunbathing, waterskiing, and high diving friends. What better way to splash into the summer season?

More work by Florine Stettheimer:

Tags: new art