The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close - Special Installation Opens November 20, Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of its “Housewarming” at the Museum

Intimate Look at Museum’s Popular Treasure from Stettheimer Family - Includes Mini Artworks by Marcel Duchamp, Gaston Lachaise, Margaret and William Zorach, and more

New York, New York, UNITED STATES

New York, NY, Nov. 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Museum of the City of New York today shared details about The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close, a new gallery installation celebrating one of its most popular artifacts, the Stettheimer dollhouse. Being presented in honor of the 75th anniversary of its arrival at the Museum and opening just in time for the holiday season, this special show gifts visitors with greater access to the lavish, highly detailed model – including additional rarely seen miniature 20th century modernist artworks—along with biographical information about the Stettheimer sisters and the members of their circle. The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close opens its doors on November 20. 


“The Stettheimer dollhouse is beloved by visitors, who return year after year, and spend hours looking at the intricate details of this treasure of the Museum of the City of New York,” says Whitney Donhauser, the Ronay Menschel Director of Museum of the City of New York. “As we celebrate the dollhouse’s 75th year at the Museum, we wanted to showcase its history in a dedicated space. It’s our gift to Museum visitors for this holiday season.”  


Carrie Stettheimer, along with her sisters Ettie and Florine and their mother Rosetta, was the host of an influential avant-garde artistic salon in early 20th century New York. The sisters – also known as the “Stetties”-- were all born shortly after the Civil War, and defied many of the expectations of women of their day. Ettie was a philosopher and novelist; Florine was a painter and designer whose work has been the subject of recent museum exhibitions. Carrie aspired to be a theatrical designer, but those dreams were derailed by her obligations in running the household. Subsequently, she spent the better part of two decades channeling her creative energies into crafting this unique piece of three-dimensional art. 


The Stettheimer dollhouse’s décor weaves together the fashion and style of early 20th century New York in miniature form across its 12 distinctive rooms. From the Limoges vases in the chintz bedroom to the crystal-trimmed candelabra in the salon, Carrie infused her artistic sensibility into every detail of the house.  Among its most outstanding features are miniature works gifted to Carrie by some of the leading figures of modern art in New York in the 1910s and 1920s, including Marcel Duchamp, Gaston Lachaise, Margaret and William Zorach, and many other guests who attended the family’s salon. 


Ettie donated the dollhouse to the Museum of the City of New York in 1945 --a year after Carrie’s death-- and it was she who installed the miniature artworks that her sister had collected. Among the invited guests for the MCNY “housewarming” were Georgia O’Keeffe and other artistic luminaries of the day.  In the 1970s, the Museum’s toy curator, John Darcy Noble, made 30 dolls to occupy the house, representing the Stettheimers and their guests -- a photograph of some of these is on view in this gallery as part of the exhibition. 


Some of the other images and objects on view in the gallery as part of The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close include: 

  • Reproductions of several paintings by Florine Stettheimer, including portraits of herself and her sisters  
  • Blowups of miniature works by leading artists of the day that are installed in the dollhouse’s ballroom, including Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase and multiple works by Albert Greizes and Gaston Lachaise  
  • Additional original seldom-seen miniature works that were given to Carrie Stettheimer 


The Stettheimer Dollhouse: Up Close will be accompanied by public, education, and family programs, to be announced.  

This exhibition is organized by Sarah Henry, Robert A. and Elizabeth Rohn Jeffe Chief Curator and Deputy Director, and designed by Marissa Martonyi, Design Director.   


An audio tour is available for this exhibition through the Urban Archive app, available for free download on the App Store.   


Social: @MuseumofCityNY #MCNYDollhouse   


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