Florine Stettheimer in Munich

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Andrew Russeth reviews an exhibition of works by Florine Stettheimer at Lenbachhaus Kunstbau, Munich, on view through January 4, 2015.

Russeth writes that the show "is joyous and illuminating, filled with rarely seen pictures that elegantly make the case that [Stettheimer] is one of the greatest artists of the 20th century and could serve as a useful model for those of the 21st." He notes that Stettheminer is often "in the thick of things, while at the same time maintaining a slight distance, or lingering on the edge of the activity, taking it all in… In Natatorium Undine (1927), which is in Vassar’s collection, she wears gold and lounges on a pink chaise at a fantastical spa. Around her, ladies recline on huge seashells (and one odd, gigantic swan), make wild dives, get rubdowns from dark-amber-skinned men, dance to the band. These are rollicking paintings about the relentless pursuit of pleasure, the realization of wild fantasies, the ridiculousness of it all. They ooze a good-natured charm that is knowing but also indulgent. They’re ambivalent."

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