Charles Loring Elliott, Portrait of Matthew Vassar, 1861

In the News

Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center will close temporarily for roof repairs after May 18, 2010, re-opening in January 2011

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center will close temporarily for roof repairs after May 18, 2010, re-opening in January 2011. During the hiatus, the Art Center will schedule programs at other campus locations and Vassar students and faculty will be provided some access to works in the Art Center's permanent collection for course-related purposes. However, no public attendance at the museum will be possible until the repairs are complete and the museum is fully reopened.

About the painting

Natatorium Undine, 1927

Florine Stettheimer (American, 1871-1944)
Natatorium Undine, 1927
Oil and encaustic on canvas, 50 1/2 x 60 inches
Gift of Ettie Stettheimer, 1949.5

A depiction of feminine beauty, Stettheimer's Natatorium Undine depicts a Jazz Age gathering place of carefree relaxation, a "natatorium" (swimming pool) of the water nymph "Ondine" (from the fairy tale by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué). Represented in this painting are the artist Stettheimer, her sister Ettie, and her friend Fania Marinoff, as well as musicians and dancers. Viewers are invited to imagine themselves in this pastel scene where women lounge on whimsical floats shaped like sea horses and oyster shells and dive from imaginative springs that coil up out of the water.

Stettheimer herself lived in a glamorous world. Florine and her two unmarried sisters, Ettie and Carrie, hosted salons and intellectual gatherings in their New York City apartment that included leading figures of the early 20th century modern art movement, including Marcel Duchamp, Charles Demuth, Carl Van Vechten, Alfred Stieglitz, and Gaston Lachaise. Art critic Henry McBride wrote that the Stettheimer salon was influential in "the shaping of intellectual and artistic impulses of the period . . . hardy ideas were put into words, which echoed sooner or later in other parts of the city."

Reference: The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Vassar College: The History and the Collection, Prestel Museum Guide, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center and Prestel Verlag, 2007, p. 106-107.


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