Spring Sale at Bendel's

Florine Stettheimer, American, 1871 - 1944

Date:
1921

Medium:
Oil on canvas

Dimensions:
50 x 40 inches (127 x 101.6 cm)

Copyright:
Research inconclusive. Copyright may apply.

Curatorial Department:
Modern Art

Object Location:

* Gallery 181, Modern and Contemporary Art, first floor

Accession Number:
1951-27-1

Credit Line:
Gift of Miss Ettie Stettheimer, 1951

Social Tags [?]

bendel's [x]   nhd 1900 to 1929 culture [x]   nhd 1900 to 1929 leisure [x]   tombairport favorite [x]  


[Add Your Own Tags]

Label:
The painter Florine Stettheimer, and her sisters Carrie and Ettie, were among Manhattan's most imaginative hosts during the teens and twenties, mixing circles of intellectuals, artists, and socialites. Here Stettheimer offers a humorous look at the chaotic world of high fashion at bargain prices during a sale at one of New York's best-known stores. She signed the painting with her initials on a monogrammed sweater worn by the Pekingese dog in the corner.

Additional information:
  • PublicationMasterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art

    Florine Stettheimer, along with her two sisters and their mother, presided over one of Manhattan's premier intellectual salons during the 1910s and 1920s, hosting such famous guests as Marcel Duchamp, Alfred Stieglitz, and Carl Van Vechten. Florine Stettheimer produced many portraits of her friends and family, depicting the social interactions of the American avant-garde at picnics and cocktail parties. Painted in her typical jewellike palette of bright reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and pinks, Spring Sale at Bendel's offers a humorous glimpse of the chaotic world of high fashion at bargain prices, wittily portraying the indecorous behavior of Stettheimer's own upper class. The opulent red draperies part to reveal an inner sanctum of privilege and luxury where members of New York's elite leap across tables to snatch up sumptuous fabrics, twisting and preening to assess the glamorous effects of the merchandise. The frenzy of attenuated women scattered across the canvas is tempered by the figure of the sales manager at the foot of the grand staircase, ringleader of this retail circus. In a final gesture of amusing extravagance, Stettheimer signed the work by painting her initials on the monogrammed sweater of the Pekingese dog politely waiting in the corner. Emily Hage, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 202.
  • PublicationTwentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    Florine Stettheimer offers her audience a humorous look into the chaotic world of high fashion at bargain prices. Demonstrating Stettheimer's fondness for clever critiques of her urban milieu, the painting features her typical jewel-like palette of bright reds, oranges, yellows, greens, and pinks. Along with her two sisters and their mother, Florine Stettheimer presided over one of Manhattan's premier intellectual salons during the teens and twenties, with guests including such artists and writers as Marcel Duchamp, Charles Demuth, Alfred Stieglitz, and Carl Van Vechten. Beginning in the years between 1910 and 1920, Stettheimer produced many portraits of her friends and family, depicting the sociable interactions of the American avant-garde at picnics and cocktail parties. Spring Sale at Bendel's introduces the playful commentary on capitalist enterprise that Stettheimer would most fully explore in her "Cathedral" series, such as Cathedrals of Fifth Avenue (1931) and Cathedrals of Wall Street (1939).

    Here Stettheimer wittily portrays the indecorous behavior of her own upper class. The opulent red draperies part to reveal an inner sanctum of privilege and luxury. New York's elite leap across tables to snatch up luxurious fabrics, twisting and preening to assess the glamorous effects of the merchandise. The sensation of witnessing the nearly scandalous pleasure of women shopping is heightened by the occasional glimpse of a garter here and there and the presence of only two men in the entire composition. The frenzy of attenuated women scattered across the canvas is tempered by the figure of the calm sales manager at the foot of the grand staircase, ringleader of this retail circus. In a final gesture of amusing extravagance, Stettheimer signed the painting by including her initials as a monogrammed sweater on the Pekingese dog politely waiting in the corner. Twentieth Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2000), p. 65.


* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.