The Stettheimer Dollhouse: A Life and Salon in Miniature

Winner of the BAAS Postgraduate Essay Prize

For twenty years, the Stettheimer salon (1915-1935) reigned as one of the central cultural hubs of 20th-century New York. Led by sisters Florine, Ettie, and Carrie, the salon cultivated an influential network of modernist artists, writers, and musicians, which would inspire and facilitate most of the sisters’ creative endeavours, including Carrie’s dollhouse replica of the salon: the Stettheimer dollhouse. An amalgamation of both Stettheimer salon locations, the dollhouse functions as a microcosm of the Stettheimer salon. Notable salon guests contributed a number of miniature paintings and sculptures to the dollhouse, whilst also providing Carrie with encouragement to persevere with the project. Continue reading

Book Review: Against Self-Reliance: The Arts of Dependence in the Early United States by William Huntting Howell

Stressing in his introduction that his concern is the ‘facts on the ground’ (11) in American history, Howell draws on quotidian and largely overlooked aesthetic projects such as the design of coins and schoolgirl samplers to offer some genuinely original work on how creative work in America was consanguineous with the processes of state-building. Continue reading

Book Review: Falling After 9/11: Crisis in American Art and Literature by Aimee Pozorski

Surely one of the most memorable and enduring artistic responses to the 9/11 terrorist attacks is Francoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman’s New Yorker cover, “9/11/2001.” The image initially appears as an utterly dark void, but a closer look reveals the ghostly afterimage of the Twin Towers, rendered in an even deeper shade of black. Published in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Mouly and Spiegelman’s artwork evokes the monochrome despair of ­a grieving nation­, and seemed to usher in a dark night of the American soul. Continue reading

Review: ‘Poetry and Collaboration in the Age of Modernism’ Conference

Because the word “collaboration” can contain so much, ‘Poetry and Collaboration’ brought together scholars with wildly different interpretations of what it means to work together. The opening keynote by Peter Howarth (Queen Mary) set the tone by being generally definitional. For Howarth, the word could potentially replace “context” in discussions of historical environment, in order to give us a more active way to talk about the interactions between artists and their surroundings. Continue reading