Carrie Stettheimer (1869–1944) was one of three daughters born to a wealthy family in Rochester, New York. After spending much of her childhood in Europe, she and her family returned to New York City at the start of World War I. The Stettheimer family often hosted invite only parties at their rented Hudson River summerhouse. They would entertain guests from New York’s avant-garde, such as artists like Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz, Man Ray, Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and writers and critics, Henry McBride and Carl Van Vechten. Carl Van Vechten, Marcel Duchamp, Leo and Gertrude Stein, Baron Adolphe de Meyer, Avery Hopwood, Marquis de Buenavista, Rockwell Kent, among others. By 1916, the Stettheimer sisters had an established salon in New York. They became regular affairs in their Upper West Side brownstone on West 76th street, and later in midtown’s Alwyn Court on West 58th street. Their salons were semi-public events in a private residence where artists and intelligentsia from all social classes would gather.

Each sister had their own role in the matriarchal salons. Carrie Stettheimer was the one that would stay home and care for their mother so she would organize and plan the event. She was the hostess, managing the extravagant dinner menus, including imaginative dishes like feather soup. She never dressed in trendy clothes, but rather elegant fashions of the past. Her greatest pleasures were reading, and conversation. All of the sisters examplified in their own way the idea of the “new woman” of the early 20th century.

While Carrie Stettheimer largely managed the large household, she also undertook a perculiar art project which replicated the family home in miniature. She worked on the ambitious dollhouse for over twenty years. She even enlisted artist friends to create miniatures of their paintings and sculptures to decorate the two story, sixteen room house. Carrie Stettheimer spent twenty-five years on it, filling the house with reproductions of period furniture and replica light fixtures and lampshades. The model is on permanent display at the Museum of the City of New York (2018).


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