Hedda Sterne – Hedda Lindenberg

Metropolitan Museum of Art entrance NYC

Metrolpolian Art Museum

Hedda Sterne (* 4. August 1910 in Bukarest als Hedwig Lindenberg; † 8. April 2011 in New York City) war eine US-amerikanische Künstlerin jüdisch-rumänischer Abstammung, die später den Kartoonisten und Juden aus Rumänien Saul Steinberg heiratete.

Hedwigs Eltern waren der Jude Simon Lindenberg († 1919), ein Gymnasiallehrer für Sprachen, und die Jüdin Eugenie, geborene Wexler.

Ihr älterer Bruder, der Jude Edouard Lindenberg wurde später ein bekannter Dirigent in Paris.

Hedda Sterne wuchs mit künstlerischen Talent auf und kam dabei mit dem Surrealismus in Berührung durch einen Freund der Familie, Victor Brauner.

Hedda Sterne wurde bis zum 11. Lebensjahr zu Hause unterrichtet.

1927 erlangte Hedda Sterne die Hochschulreife mit 17 Jahren, woraufhin Hedda Sterne Kunstkurse in Wien besuchte, ehe sie an der Universität in Bukarest ein Studium der Philosophie und Kunstgeschichte begann. Dieses brach Hedda Sterne aber nach einem Jahr ab, um sich selbständig künstlerisch ausbilden zu lassen.

Außerhalb Rumäniens, besonders in Paris, entwickelte Hedda Sterne  Fertigkeiten als Malerin und Bildhauerin. 1932 heiratete Hedda Sterne ihren Jugendfreund, den Juden Frederick Sterne im Alter von 22 Jahren.

1941 floh Hedda Sterne vor den Nationalsozialisten nach New York, um bei ihrem jüdischen Ehemann zu sein. Durch die Bekanntschaft mit Peggy Guggenheim lernte Hedda Sterne die New Yorker Kunstszene kennen. Nach der Scheidung 1944 heiratete sie Saul Steinberg, einen ebenso in Rumänien geborenen Karikaturisten und Illustrator, der für sein Werk The New Yorker berühmt wurde, und wurde US-amerikanische Staatsbürgerin. Über Kinder ist nichts bekannt.

1960 trennte sich Hedda Sterne von Saul Steinberg „freundschaftlich“.

Während der späten 1940er Jahre, wurde Hedda Mitglied der The Irascible Eighteen, einer Gruppe abstrakter Maler, die gegen die Einstellung des Metropolitan Museum of Art gegenüber der Malerei dieses Jahrzehnts protestierten. Diese Gruppe wurde durch das berühmte Foto von 1950 verewigt: Willem de KooningAdolph GottliebAd ReinhardtRichard Pousette-DartWilliam BaziotesJimmy ErnstJackson PollockJames BrooksClyfford StillRobert MotherwellBradley Walker TomlinTheodoros StamosBarnett Newman und Mark Rothko.

Ab 1992 arbeitete sie mit dem Kunsthändler Philippe Briet zusammen, der ihr 1994 den Schriftsteller Michel Butor vorstellte. Es begann eine Zusammenarbeit für das Buchprojekt „La Révolution dans l’Arboretum“, erschienen im September 1995.

Hedda Sterne war in zahllosen Schauen und Ausstellungen in New York vertreten und arbeitete als Künstlerin, ehe eine Makuladegeneration sie am Malen hinderte. Dennoch zeichnete Hedda Sterne weiter. Mit 94 Jahren erlitt Hedda Sterne einen Schlaganfall, der ihr Seh- und Gehvermögen derart betraf, daß sie ihr künstlerisches Schaffen beenden musste.

Hedda Sterne starb am 8. April 2011 im Alter von 100 Jahren.

Hedda Sternes Werke finden sich in Sammlungen verschiedener Museen, darunter das Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, die National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. sowie das National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C.

Hedda Sterne (born Hedwig Lindenberg; August 4, 1910 – April 8, 2011) was an artist best remembered as the only woman in a group of Abstract Expressionists known as „The Irascibles“ which consisted of Jackson PollockWillem de KooningBarnett NewmanMark Rothko, and others. Hedda Sterne was, in fact, the only woman photographed with the group by Nina Leen for Life magazine in 1950. In her artistic endavors she created a body of work known for exhibiting a stubborn independence from styles and trends, including Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism, with which she is often associated.

Hedda Sterne has been almost completely overlooked in art historical narratives of the post-war American art scene. At the time of her death, possibly the last surviving artist of the first-generation of the New York School, Hedda Sterne viewed her widely varied works more as in fluxthan as definitive statements. In 1944 she married Jew Saul Steinberg the Romanian-born American cartoonist and illustrator, best known for his work for The New Yorker.

During the late 1940s she became a member of The Irascible Eighteen, a group of abstract painters who protested the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s policy towards American painting of the 1940s and who posed for a famous picture in 1950; members of the group besides Sterne included: Willem de KooningAdolph GottliebAd ReinhardtRichard Pousette-DartWilliam BaziotesJimmy ErnstJackson PollockJames BrooksClyfford StillRobert Motherwell,Bradley Walker TomlinTheodoros StamosBarnett Newman, and Mark Rothko.

Her works are in the collections of museums including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, also in Washington D.C. She turned 100 in August 2010.

Hedda Sterne was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1910 as Hedwig Lindenberg. Born to Jew Simon Lindenberg, a high school language teacher,and Jewish Eugenie (Wexler) Lindenberg. Hedda Sterne was the second child with her only sibling, Edouard Lindenberg, who later became a prominent conductor in Paris. Hedda Sterne was raised with artistic values from a young age, most notably, her tie to Surrealism, which stemmed from a family friend, Victor Brauner.

Hedda Sterne was homeschooled until age 11.

Upon her high school graduation in 1927, at age 17, she attended art classes in Vienna, then had a short attendance at the University of Bucharest studying philosophy and art history before she dropped out to pursue artistic training independently. Hedda Sterne spent time traveling, especially to Paris developing her technical skills as both a painter and sculptor.

Hedda Sterne married a childhood friend Jew Frederick Sterne in 1932 when she was 22. In 1941 she fled to New York to be with Frederick.

In 1944 she remarried Jew Saul Steinberg and became a U.S. citizen. It is not mentioned if she ever had children.

Hedda Sterne was involved in many shows and exhibits in New York and practiced her art up until macular dgenration set in and she could no longer paint, but continued to draw. Then when she was 94 Hedda Sterne had a stroke that affected her vision and movement and thereafter was unable to make art at all.

  • 1910 – Born in Bucharest, Romania.
  • 1919 – Her father Simon dies. Her mother remarries Leonida Cioara, the partner in their family business.
  • 1927 – Finishes high school.
  • 1928 – Enters University of Bucharest to study Art History and Philosophy but finds curriculum limiting and leaves after a year to do independent study.
  • 1932 – Marries childhood friend Frederick Stern. They divorced in 1944.
  • 1939 – WWII begins.
  • 1941 – Barely escaping a massacre of Jews in her apartment building Hedda flees to New York. Meets Peggy Guggenheim through which she meets several artists.
  • 1944 – Marries Saul Steinberg. Sterne Becomes U.S. citizen.
  • 1950 – Named one of country’s best artists under age of 36 in the March 20 issue of Life. Signs a letter to President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 20 to protest aesthetically conservative group-exhibition juries. All signers are dubbed „The Irascibles“ in an articles about the letter wherein the famous Nina Leen photograph of the artists is published for the first time.
  • 1960 – Sterne and Steinberg separate but remain close friends. Begins to disengage socially with the art world and leads an increasingly private life.
  • 1992 – In November, meets the art dealer Philippe Briet, the beginning of a sustainable friendship leading to several projects, which will be interrupted by his prematured death in February 1997. In October 1994, he introduces writer Michel Butor to Hedda Sterne, being at the origin of their collaboration for the book he would publish in September 1995, „La Révolution dans l’Arboretum„.
  • 1997 – Macular degeneration causes Sterne to stop painting, however she continues drawing.
  • 1999 – Her second husband Saul Steinberg dies.
  • 2004 – Suffers stroke. Makes a remarkable recovery but her eyesight fails causing her to stop practicing her art.
  • 2006 – „Uninterrupted Flux: Hedda Sterne; A Retrospective“ is written.
  • 2010 – Sterne reaches her 100th birthday in August.
  • 2011 – Dies in New York at age 100.
Zitate
  • „I have a feeling that in art the need to understand and the need to communicate are one.“
  • „Nobody tried to influence me, I just worked.“
  • „I always thought that art is not quote self-expression but communication.“
  • „It’s malentendu to consider me Abstract Expressionist. I was invited to participate in many things, but I never considered myself part of that group, or any group, and it shows in my work.“
  • „I cannot stand that every time people talk about you they immediately want to place you in a box–influenced by so and so…But you do not derive directly from anyone.“
  • „My idea being that for the sublime and the beautiful and the interesting, you do not have to look far away. You have to know how to see.“
  • „I always painted ideas, I have to say. It was always some set of ideas that get me going.“

Sterne the only woman in a group of rogue artists who were dubbed „The Irascibles“. The term was coined to represent the group consisting of 18 prominent artists of their day, including Jackson PollockWillem de KooningBarnett Newman and Mark Rothko. These artists were also thought to be a part of the New York School as well as Sterne (although she preferred not to be aligned with any artistic group). „The Irascibles“ are the artists who signed a letter protesting conservative group-exhibition juries to the president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They were referred to as The Irascibles in an article featured in an issue of Life where the infamous Nina Leen photograph was published of all members of „The Irascibles“.

From the very beginning of her outstanding but unknown career, Sterne maintained an individual profile in the face of Jackson PollockWillem de KooningMark Rothko, and Barnett Newman, all of whom she knew personally. Her independence reflected an immense artistic and personal integrity. The astonishing variety of Sterne’s work, spanning from her initial appropriation of surrealist techniques, to her investigation of conceptual painting, and her unprecedented installations in the 1960s, exemplify her adventurous spirit. Yet, the heterogeneity of her styles, and her complete disinterest in the commercially driven art world, have contributed to her exclusion from the canon. When the heroic male narratives of modernism begin to fade, we may, eventually, be ready to recognize this amazingly idiosyncratic body of work. Sterne’s art is, indeed, a manifesto in favor of the untamable forces of the mind and the continually changing flux of life.

Hedda Sterne ’s career did not bloom until she came to New York, even though she had had a few exhibitions in Romania. Hedda Sterne showed her work for the first time in a group show, the 11th Exposition du Salon des Surindépendants, in Paris in 1938. Hedda Sterne was included in group and independent art shows throughout her entire career.

„Hedda Sterne views her widely varied works more as „in flux“ than as definitive statements. She has maintained a stubborn independence from styles and trends, including Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism“. Hedda never liked to define her art or herself into any group socially or artistically. She never followed a boundary of a certain style. Sterne was a self taught, uninfluenced artist who just worked and made her art as she pleased and how she pleased without having a single concern to try to define her art into any category. „Although she never developed a signature style, Ms. Sterne’s explorations have produced a small universe of evocative images“.

  • 1945 – Wakefield Gallery, N.Y.
  • 1945 – Mortimer Brandt Gallery, N.Y.
  • 1947 – Betty Parsons Gallery, ’48, ’50 ’53, ’54, ’57, ’58, ’61, ’63, ’66, ’68, ’70, ’74, ’75, ’78
  • 1953 – Galleria dell’Obelisco, Rome, ’61
  • 1953 – Museo de Arte, SaoPaulo, Brazil
  • 1955 – Arts Club of Chicago
  • 1956 – Vassar College
  • 1956 – Saidenberg Gallery
  • 1968 – Rizzoli Gallery
  • 1971 – Sneed Gallery
  • 1972 – Clinton, N.J.
  • 1973 – Upstairs Gallery, East Hampton
  • 1973 – „Hedda Sterne: Recent Painting“, Rush Rhees Gallery, University of Rochester, NY (November 26-December 15).
  • 1975 – „Hedda Sterne: Portraits“, Lee Ault & Company, New York (October 15-November 8).
  • 1977 – „Hedda Sterne: Retrospective Exhibition“, Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey (April 24-June 26).
  • 1982 – „Hedda Sterne: A Painting in Life“, CDS Gallery, New York (March 17-April 12).
  • 1985 – „Hedda Sterne: Forty Years“, retrospective, Queens Museum of Art, New York (February 2-April 14).
  • 1993 – „Hedda Sterne„, Philippe Briet Gallery, New York (January 23-February 27).
  • 1995 – „Hedda Sterne, New Paintings“, CDS Gallery, New York (February 18-March 31).
  • 1998 – „Hedda Sterne: Dessins [1939-1998],“ Bibliothèque Municipale, Caen (April 1–30).
  • 1943 – Art of This Century gallery, N.Y., „Exhibition of 31 Women“
  • 1949 – Whitney Museum Annual, ’59, ’67
  • 1951 – Los Angeles County Museum
  • 1951 – Third Tokyo International Art Exhibition
  • 1954 – Art Institute of Chicago Annual, ’55, ’57, ’60, ’61
  • 1955 – Museum of modern Art
  • 1955 – Corcoran Gallery Annual, Washington, D.C., ’56, ’58, ’63
  • 1955 – Whitney Museum, „New Decade Show“
  • 1955 – Carnegie International, ’58, ’61, ’62, ’64
  • 1955 – Rhode Island School of Design, ’56
  • 1956 – Venice Biennial
  • 1956 – Smithsonian Institution
  • 1956 – Art Institute of Chicago, „American Artists Paint the City“
  • 1957 – Minnesota Institute of Art, „American Painting“
  • 1958-59 – American Federation of Arts, University of Iowa, „Contemporary American Paintings“
  • 1960 – Mexico City Biennial
  • 1961 – Art Institute of Chicago, „Painting & Sculpture“
  • 1962 – Molton Gallery, London „Four American Painters“
  • 1964 – Cincinnati Art Museum
  • 1964 – Das Kunstwerk, „The Work of Art“
  • 1966 – Heron Museum of Art
  • 1969 – Phillips Collection, Westmoreland Museum
  • 1971 – Finch College, „Artists at Work“
  • 1972 – Guild Hall, East Hampton, „Then & Now“
  • 1971 – Minnesota Museum of Art, „Drawings USA/71“
  • 1971 – Heckscher Museum, Huntington, N.Y.[13]
  • 1983, May 25-June 18, Betty Parsons Gallery. Mino ArgentoJack YoungermanDavid BuddCalvert CoggeshallCleve GrayLee Hall,Minoru KawabataRichard Pousette-DartLeon Polk Smith, Hedda Sterne, Ed Zutrau and Sari Dienes (among others).[14]
  • 1994 – Galerie de l’École des Beaux-Arts, Lorient, „Le Temps d’un Dessin“, curated by Philippe Briet, drawings by 86 artists living in the United States (March 16-April 6).
  • Metropolitan Museum
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Whitney Museum
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Virginia Museum, Richmond
  • University of Illinois, Urbana
  • Rockefeller Institute
  • Detroit Institute of Art
  • Joseph H. Hirshhorn Collection
  • Albrecht Gallery, St. Joseph, Mo.
  • Chase Manhattan Bank
  • U.S. Dept. of State
  • Albright-Know Art Gallery, Buffalo
  • University of Nebraska Art Gallery
  • Carnegie Institute
  • Inland Steel Co., Chicago
  • Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
  • Toledo Museum of Art
  • Childe Hassam Purchase
  • Minnesota Museum of Art, St. Paul

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