Monday, February 8, 2021

Why Were So Many Stettheimer Art Works Up for Sale? Not All Were Real

By Susan Mulcahy
“Asbury Park South” (1920) by Florine Stettheimer, one of her most celebrated paintings, was sold by Fisk University in 2010. It was the first major work to come on the market in 20 years.Credit...History and Art Collection/Alamy
Years can pass without work by the singular modernist Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944) appearing on the art market. Her estate went mostly to museums and universities. Which made 2020 a banner year, with five pieces popping up at auction houses and galleries in the United States. Only two turned out to have been actually created by Stettheimer. Of the other works, two were removed from the marketplace and the attribution changed on the third. Stettheimer is beloved for her ultrafeminine faux-naïf style. But along with authenticity issues, the current sales raised another question: how do you value a storied artist whose work is rarely available? [More