Listening to Art

04.09: Florine Stettheimer, Picnic at Bedford Hills

Download (MP3).

Listening to Art, by William Denton.

Volume four, number nine: Picnic at Bedford Hills by Florine Stettheimer.

Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.

Florine Stettheimer was an American artist who lived from 1871 to 1944, almost entirely in New York City. She studied art there in the 1890s, and because her family was very rich, they were able to travel back and forth to Europe, where they spent much time and she studied and painted more. After the outbreak of the war in 1914 they returned to New York, where Stettheimer remained until her death. She had just one solo show, in 1916, but often exhibited in group shows, though she never put anything up for sale.

A catalogue, titled simply Florine Stettheimer, was made for a 2014 retrospective, and in their chapter “Florine Stettheimer, 1871–1944: A Chronology,” Karin Althaus and Susanne Böller describe (p. 28) how her painting changed after her solo show:

After her exhibition … Stettheimer develops a new and highly individual style: she retains the echoes of the rococo characteristic of her earlier work while gradually casting off influences such as the painters of the Munich Secession, the fauves, and Matisse. Her paintings are often richly figured and detailed, narrative and replete with private allusions. Usually working on light grounds, she arranges elegant and delicate characters in luminous colors….

In addition, Stettheimer often takes up the habit of memorializing the family’s and their circle’s parties and excursions in pictures.

Picnic at Bedford Hills, painted in 1918, is one of those. It features Florine Stettheimer, her sisters Ettie and Carrie, and two friends: Elie Nadelman and also Marcel Duchamp, the greatest artist of the twentieth century.

This is a painting, oil on canvas, 127.6 cm wide by 102.4 cm high.

Now let’s listen to Picnic at Bedford Hills by Florine Stettheimer, recorded while on tour at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, on 02 November 2017.

Waveform of the field recording.

That was Picnic at Bedford Hills by Florine Stettheimer. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.

For more information and links to things I’ve mentioned, please visit

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All web sites accessed as of date of publication.

Atlhaus, Karin and Susanne Böller. “Florine Stettheimer, 1871–1944: A Chronology.” In Florine Stettheimer, eds. Matthias Mühling, Karin Althaus and Susanne Böller (Munich: Städtische Galerie Im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, 2014).

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. “Picnic at Bedford Hills.” Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Wikipedia, s.v. “Florine Stettheimer.”