Asbury Park South

by Florine Stettheimer

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Artist Statement

Stettheimer painted Asbury Park South in 1920, after visiting the segregated New Jersey beach with author and Harlem Renaissance-patron Carl Van Vechten. Asbury Park has a long, checkered history when it comes to segregation, with its beaches forming something of a stage upon which the city’s racist policies played out. Local Black activists fought segregation on the beaches for decades, achieving incremental gains throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Though over time laws were changed, and the city publicly disavowed discrimination on the basis of race in the 1930’s, Black visitors to the beaches continued to face discrimination, mistreatment and violence for decades.

Why We Love It

Asbury Park South is an important painting in many respects, but most interesting is its portrayal of its human subjects, many of whom are Black. Stettheimer rejects the racist caricatures that were commonplace in the work of white artists at the time, and instead paints the subjects as unique, fully-realized personalities, as explored through their poses, actions, and dress. There are young women with Flapper-esque fringed dresses with held hands and arms slung over each others’ shoulders; stylish young men in dapper white suits and hats; older folks in more Edwardian-style dress; and kids in bathing suits playing in the sand...More on the blog!

 

Details

+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is available

Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches and maximum of 2.5” to allow for framing.

Medium:

Innova Soft White Cotton IFA 15

8"x10" | edition of 10
11"x14" | edition of 150
16"x20" | edition of 25
20"x24" | edition of 10

Florine Stettheimer

Florine Stettheimer’s provocative and progressive nature came in part from her unusual childhood. Born in 1871 to a Jewish family full of highly educated and accomplished women, her home life was feminist from the start. At a young age, she received artistic training in New York City and stayed in Europe for some time with her mother and sisters. There, she was exposed to the Ballet Russes, a lasting influence on her work. With the start of World War I, the Stettheimers returned to Manhattan, eventually hosting an intellectual salon. These meetings attracted many art world heavyweights, like Alfred Stieglitz,... Read More
Georgia O’Keeffe, Marcel Duchamp and more. These characters, along with her sisters, appeared often in Stettheimer’s work. After a disappointing solo show early in her career, Stettheimer initially refused to exhibit anywhere but these private salons. Her early insistence on keeping her work closely held allowed her the freedom to build her own artistic narrative that focused on the female gaze. That bold female gaze led Stettheimer to create the first full-length nude self-portrait by a female artist. Her Self-Portrait stares coyly and confrontationally out at the viewer. At a time when dresses were only just beginning to show the ankle, a portrait like this was unthinkable. Yet think it, and create it, Stettheimer did. Works like this led critics to hail Stettheimer as one of the few important female painters in the history of art. She was included in the first Whitney Biennial, the opening exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and the first American art exhibition in Europe (one of only two women to do so).  Just two years after her death, Stettheimer’s close friends McBride and Duchamp organized a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. It was the first of many such retrospectives, as Stettheimer’s daring innovation, humor, and feminist heart continue to inspire contemporary artists young and old.
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