NEW YORK, NY.- Museum of the City of New York
today shared details about The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close, a new gallery installation celebrating one of its most popular artifacts, the Stettheimer dollhouse. Being presented in honor of the 75th anniversary of its arrival at the Museum and opening just in time for the holiday season, this special show gifts visitors with greater access to the lavish, highly detailed model including additional rarely seen miniature 20th century modernist artworksalong with biographical information about the Stettheimer sisters and the members of their circle. The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close opened its doors on November 20.
The Stettheimer dollhouse is beloved by visitors, who return year after year, and spend hours looking at the intricate details of this treasure of the Museum of the City of New York, says Whitney Donhauser, the Ronay Menschel Director of Museum of the City of New York. As we celebrate the dollhouses 75th year at the Museum, we wanted to showcase its history in a dedicated space. Its our gift to Museum visitors for this holiday season.
Carrie Stettheimer, along with her sisters Ettie and Florine and their mother Rosetta, was the host of an influential avant-garde artistic salon in early 20th century New York. The sisters also known as the Stetties-- were all born shortly after the Civil War, and defied many of the expectations of women of their day. Ettie was a philosopher and novelist; Florine was a painter and designer whose work has been the subject of recent museum exhibitions. Carrie aspired to be a theatrical designer, but those dreams were derailed by her obligations in running the household. Subsequently, she spent the better part of two decades channeling her creative energies into crafting this unique piece of three-dimensional art.
The Stettheimer dollhouses décor weaves together the fashion and style of early 20th century New York in miniature form across its 12 distinctive rooms. From the Limoges vases in the chintz bedroom to the crystal-trimmed candelabra in the salon, Carrie infused her artistic sensibility into every detail of the house. Among its most outstanding features are miniature works gifted to Carrie by some of the leading figures of modern art in New York in the 1910s and 1920s, including Marcel Duchamp, Gaston Lachaise, Margaret and William Zorach, and many other guests who attended the familys salon.
Ettie donated the dollhouse to the Museum of the City of New York in 1945 --a year after Carries death-- and it was she who installed the miniature artworks that her sister had collected. Among the invited guests for the MCNY housewarming were Georgia OKeeffe and other artistic luminaries of the day. In the 1970s, the Museums toy curator, John Darcy Noble, made 30 dolls to occupy the house, representing the Stettheimers and their guests -- a photograph of some of these is on view in this gallery as part of the exhibition.
Some of the other images and objects on view in the gallery as part of The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close include:
Reproductions of several paintings by Florine Stettheimer, including portraits of herself and her sisters
Blowups of miniature works by leading artists of the day that are installed in the dollhouses ballroom, including Marcel Duchamps Nude Descending a Staircase and multiple works by Albert Greizes and Gaston Lachaise
Additional original seldom-seen miniature works that were given to Carrie Stettheimer
The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close will be accompanied by public, education, and family programs, to be announced.
This exhibition is organized by Sarah Henry, Robert A. and Elizabeth Rohn Jeffe Chief Curator and Deputy Director, and designed by Marissa Martonyi, Design Director.