Today’s post comes from Simone Levine, Class of 2013 and Art Center Student Docent.

Florine Stettheimer (American, 1871-1944). Natatorium Undine, 1927 Oil and encaustic on canvas, 50 1/2 x 60 inches. Gift of Ettie Stettheimer, 1949.5

On October 28th, our very own “Natatorium Undine” by Florine Stettheimer will hang among other works from the Jazz Age in the Brooklyn Museum’s Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties.  Displaying art rich in sexual freedom and celebrations of youth, the exhibition focuses on artists who defied the automated routines and stresses of modern industrial life.  Our Stettheimer will hang among 139 other works by many of her contemporaries such as Charles Demuth, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Alfred Stieglitz.  When she lived in New York City, she hosted parties and intellectual gatherings in her apartment that attracted these leaders of early 20th century modern art and facilitated the exchange of their ideas.

With its frolicking, delicate figures and pastel palette, “Natatorium Undine” captures the essence of a Jazz Age retreat from the drudgery of modernity.  Painted in 1927, Stettheimer’s work is five feet wide and over four feet tall, a colossal compared to its contemporaries.  According to our Prestel Museum Guide, it depicts a “natatorium” (swimming pool) of the water nymph “Ondine” (from the fairy tale by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué).  In this carefree scene are the figures of the artist, her sister Ettie, and her friend Fania Marinoff, as well as musicians and dancers.  The figures dive into the water, lounge on sea horse-shaped floats, and make merriment on the banks of the pool.

The Brooklyn Museum’s Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties runs from October 28th through January 29, 2012.  For more information about the exhibition, visit http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/youth_beauty/

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