Shortly after Florine Stettheimer’s death in 1944, her younger sister excised whole sections of the artist’s diaries for reasons, it seems, of envy and propriety. Around fifteen years later, the Stettheimer family lawyer commissioned a biography of Florine. Its author later admitted that he had used his “overactive imagination to fabricate readings of Stettheimer’s personality, work and intentions.”

Barbara Bloemink has attempted to rectify the ensuing damage to Florine’s reputation in a properly researched biography with contemporary analysis. This noble project is marred by two shortcomings. One is conformity to fashionable art-historical obsessions. The other is copy littered with unstylish repetitions, baffling constructions, faulty word choices, anarchic punctuation, inexplicable emphases, and nattering. Bloemink...

 

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