Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue

Artist:
Florine Stettheimer (American, Rochester, New York 1871–1944 New York, New York)
Date:
1931
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
60 x 50 in. (152.4 x 127 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Ettie Stettheimer, 1953
Accession Number:
53.24.4
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 902
Turning her gaze to Fifth Avenue, Stettheimer treats the spectacles of high society and consumerism with affectionate humor. A newly wedded couple emerges from a church, ready to begin a life of excess and acquisition. Floating above them are the names of New York’s most exclusive shops and food establishments; "Tiffany’s" is spelled out in jeweled letters, and "Altman’s" is shaped from fine home furnishings. At right, Stettheimer and her sisters exit a limousine near Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s gilded Sherman Monument. Like the other three paintings in the series, a gilded frame of the artist’s design surrounds the canvas.
Inscription: Signed and dated (lower right): N.Y.-31- FLORINE STETTHEIMER
the artist, New York (1931–d. 1944); her sister, Ettie Stettheimer, New York (1944–53; her gift to MMA)

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "First Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting," November 22, 1932–January 5, 1933, no. 110.

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Florine Stettheimer," October 1–November 17, 1946, unnumbered cat. (p. 49; as "Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue," lent by Miss Ettie Stettheimer, New York).

Hartford, Conn. Wadsworth Atheneum. "Florine Stettheimer," January 9–February 1, 1948, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The 10s, the 20s, the 30s: Inventive Clothes, 1909–1939," December 13, 1973–September 3, 1974, not in catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "14 Americans," July 16, 1990–January 2, 1991, no catalogue.

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "Florine Stettheimer: Manhattan Fantastica," July 13–November 5, 1995, unnumbered cat. (p. 29; as "Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue").

New York. Whitney Museum of American Art. "The American Century: Art and Culture, 1900–2000. Part 1: 1900–1950," April 23–August 22, 1999, unnumbered cat. (p. 137).

Henry McBride. Florine Stettheimer. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art, New York. New York, 1946, contents page, p. 55, ill. p. 49 (color).

Esther I. Seaver. "Florine Stettheimer and the Gay Twenties." Wadsworth Atheneum Bulletin (January 1948), p. 1.

Parker Tyler. Florine Stettheimer: A Life in Art. New York, 1963, pp. 46, 52, 59, 68, 78, 109, 138, 152, 162, 164, 181, 183, ill. p. 122 (color).

Eleanor Heartney. "Florine Stettheimer: Saints, Esthetes, and Hustlers." Art News 90 (May 1991), p. 95.

Jerry Saltz. "Notes on a Painting. Twilight of the Gods: Florine Stettheimer's 'Cathedrals of Art,' 1942." Arts Magazine 66 (March 1992), p. 22.

Barbara Bloemink. Friends and Family: Portraiture in the World of Florine Stettheimer. Exh. cat., Katonah Museum of Art. Katonah, N. Y., 1993, pp. 16–17.

Elisabeth Sussman in Florine Stettheimer: Manhattan Fantastica. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 1995, pp. 50, 52, 62, 127, 140, ill. p. 29 (color).

Barbara Bloemink in Florine Stettheimer: Manhattan Fantastica. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 1995, pp. 89, 95 n. 43.

Linda Nochlin in Florine Stettheimer: Manhattan Fantastica. Exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art. New York, 1995, pp. 107–8, 113–14.



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