Romaine Brooks: A Life by Cassandra Langer

Press release

Cover: Romaine Brooks a Life
The Cover of Romaine Brooks a Life by Cassandra Langer (UW Press, September 2015)

Romaine Brooks (1874–1970)

The artistic achievements of Romaine Brooks (1874–1970), both as a major expatriate American painter and as a formative innovator in the decorative arts, have long been overshadowed by her fifty-year relationship with writer Natalie Barney and a reputation as a fiercely independent, aloof heiress who associated with fascists in the 1930s. In Romaine Brooks: A Life, art historian Cassandra Langer provides a richer, deeper portrait of Brooks’s aesthetics and experimentation as an artist—and of her entire life, from her chaotic, traumatic childhood to the enigmatic decades after World War II, when she produced very little art. This provocative, lively biography takes aim at many myths about Brooks and her friends, lovers, and the subjects of her portraits, revealing a woman of wit and passion who overcame enormous personal and societal challenges to become an extraordinary artist and create a life on her own terms.

Romaine Brooks: A Life

introduces much fresh information from Langer’s decades of research on Brooks and establishes this groundbreaking artist’s centrality to feminism and contemporary sexual politics as well as to visual culture. Romaine Brooks: A Life will by Cassandra Langer be published in September 2015 by University of Wisconsin Press, USA.

About Cassandra Langer

Cassandra Langer 2015 iconCassandra Langer is an art historian, critic, and appraiser. She is the author and editor of several books, including New Feminist Criticisms: Art, Identity, Action. She lives in New York and blogs at cassandralanger.com.

The Book Tour

Cassandra is available for visiting speaker opportunities events, workshops etc. She can speak on a number of subjects. She needs to fund her book tour so any help would be much appreciated. Cassandra says: It’s been a very long haul of rolling the rock but well worth it. Let me know what you think. Suggestions always welcome.

Related Links

Kickstarter Project – A New Book About Romaine Brooks, posted at Feminine Moments, April 26, 2013.

Florine Stettheimer Retrospective in Munich


Panel debate about the Florine Stettheimer retrospective. Video by Art Basel

Florine Stettheimer Retrospective in Munich

Early American modernist painter, salonière, set designer and poet Florine Stettheimer(1871 – 1944) was living for a period of her life in Munich, Germany. The Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau, Munich is now presenting the first retrospective exhibition of Florine Stettheimer’s work in Europe. The exhibition ‘Florine Stettheimer’ runs through January 4 2015. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue:

Florine Stettheimer

by Matthias Mühling (Editor), Karin Althaus (Editor)
Publisher: Hirmer Publishers (November 15, 2014)
ISBN-10: 3777422649
ISBN-13: 978-3777422640

Amazon’s description of the catalogue/well-illustrated hardback art book reads: “Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944) was among the most fascinating artists on the New York arts scene during the first half of the twentieth century, and the painter and poet counted among her fans Andy Warhol and Marcel Duchamp, who organized a retrospective of her work at the Museum of Modern Art(in 1946 ed.).
With a longstanding interest in beauty contests and celebrity, Wall Street and consumer culture, Stettheimer anticipated in her work many of the same interests that would later characterize Pop Art, and her synthesis of the arts and urban life remains a source of inspiration for many artists working today.”

Heat by Florine Stettheimer
Heat, c.1919, by Florine Stettheimer courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum.

Florine Stettheimer (1871 – 1944)

Wikipedia reads: “Stettheimer studied for three years 1892 to 1895 at the Art Students League of New York. (…) From 1915 to 1935, she and her sisters Ettie and Carrie hosted a salon “for the contemporary literati, gay and polyglot New Yorkers and European expatriates”.In October 1916, the only solo exhibition of her work during her lifetime took place at Knoedler & Company in Manhattan, curated by Marie Sterner. She exhibited twelve “high-keyed, decorative paintings”, none of which were sold. From (… then on) year after year, over a period of two decades, Stettheimer entered her work (only) at the Annual exhibitions of the Society of Independent Artists. She also continued to refine her style in rendering highly personal self-portraits, including a self-portrait in the nude, and group portraits that included her own family. She also prepared a number of well known portraits of Marcel Duchamp that were fueled by desire and explore androgyny and doubling.”

Gertrude Stein Bought A Painting by Marie Laurencin

American writer and art collector Gertrude Stein bought the first painting Marie Laurencin (1883 – 1956) ever sold as a professional artist, Group of Artists (1909), which is a group portrait of Laurencin, Apollinaire, Picasso and his mistress, Fernande Olivier.

Musée Marie Laurencin (the Marie Laurencin Museum) in Japan is dedicated to the French modernist painter and bisexual Marie Laurencin.

The Ladies Almanack – The Book All Women Should Carry


Djuna Barnes & Natalie Barney Girlfriends in Paris, a video clip.

The Ladies Almanack – The Book All Women Should Carry

Djuna Barnes (June 12, 1892 – June 18, 1982) was an American writer. “She was part of the inner circle of the influential salon hostess Natalie Barney, who would become a lifelong friend and patron, as well as the central figure in Barnes’s satiric chronicle of Paris lesbian life, Ladies Almanack. They probably also had a brief affair, but the most important relationship of Barnes’s Paris years was with the artist Thelma Wood. Wood was a Kansas native who had come to Paris to become a sculptor, but at Barnes’s suggestion took up silverpoint instead, producing drawings of animals and plants.” – Read the description of the short film at YouTube.