From Life: Early Works by Florine Stettheimer

an online exhibition in collaboration with Columbia University Libraries


From Life: Early Works by Florine Stettheimer is curated by Sarah Faulkner, Luming Guan, Zhirui Guan, Laleh Javaheri-Saatchi, Ana-Sofia Meneses, Katie Pratt-Thompson, Nínive Vargas de la Peña, Clara Zevi and Shuni Zhu, candidates in the MA in Art History in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, under the guidance of Frédérique Baumgartner, Director of the MA in Art History, and Roberto C. Ferrari, Curator of Art Properties. The website is designed by Tim Trombley, Media Center for Art History, Columbia University, with the assistance of Sarah Faulkner, Ana-Sofia Meneses and Nínive Vargas de la Peña.

From left to right: MA candidates Laleh Javaheri-Saatchi, Sarah Faulkner, Nínive Vargas de la Peña, Zhirui Guan, Clara Zevi, Luming Guan, Katie Pratt-Thompson and Shuni Zhu examine works by Florine Stettheimer from the Art Properties collection, January 30, 2020. Not pictured: MA candidate Ana-Sofia Meneses.

From Life focuses on the American avant-garde artist Florine Stettheimer’s formative years and academic training, an aspect of her career that has been understudied. Columbia University holds the largest collection of Stettheimer’s art in the world and the present online exhibition draws from works in the collections of Art Properties, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, and the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML).

Snapshots of two Stettheimer sketchbooks from the RBML collection, taken in the early stages of the exhibition planning.

From Life is the fourth iteration of an initiative launched in 2017, entitled “MA in Art History Presents,” that offers candidates in the MA in Art History an opportunity to conceive and implement an exhibition based on the Columbia University art collection. Comprised of more than 13,000 works of art in all media, across multiple time periods and cultures worldwide, the collection is stewarded by Art Properties. Drawing on the pedagogical potential of this extensive collection and the RBML collection, as well as on the experience of museum and art professionals based in New York and elsewhere, “MA in Art History Presents” allows students to engage with every aspect of the making of an exhibition, from researching to selecting and interpreting objects. In doing so, it contributes to the knowledge and visibility of the Columbia art collection.

The curators of From Life: Early Works by Florine Stettheimer wish to thank all the people at Columbia and beyond who have shared their expertise and lent their assistance with the conception and realization of this online exhibition, including: Hannah Bennett, Director of Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library; Eric J. Reisenger and Lillian Vargas, Art Properties; Jennifer Lee, Curator of Performing Arts Collection, RBML, Columbia University Libraries; Morgan Adams and Alexis Hagadorn, Columbia University Libraries Conservation Program; the staff at the Preservation and Digital Conversion Division, Columbia University Libraries; Tim Trombley and Stefaan Van Liefferinge, Media Center for Art History, Columbia University; Barbara Bloemink, independent scholar on Florine Stettheimer; Stephen Brown, Curator, The Jewish Museum, New York; Anne Umland, The Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Curator of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Valerie Loormann, Meadowbrook Gardens, New Milford, CT.