Adorned in art

The History of Our New York Showroom

At Frances Valentine, we love a good backstory. In 1900, the artist Abraham Anderson constructed the Beaux Arts Building, now known as Bryant Park Studios, home to Frances Valentine’s headquarters since 2016. 

With its stone window enframements and metal railed balconies with rustic terra cotta brick branding, Bryant Park Studios was originally built to house artists’ studios and residences in the Beaux Arts style, an architectural style drawn from French neoclassicism. 

Among Bryant Park Studios' most iconic residents was Florine Stetteimer, an artist, feminist, designer, and poet. Stetheimer was most famous for her whimsical style, progressive angle, and unique perspective of New York City. Decades later, Frances Valentine continues a legacy of artistry and creativity in the very same space.

Cathedral of Art

Florine Stetteimer’s most notable work was produced right here in the Frances Valentine office and showroom space, suite 80. 

Here, she would paint her dynamic and provocative self-portraits, whimsical scenes of New York social life, and lively and feminine depictions of her family. Her work was filled with florals, colors, textures, and life - pillars that inspire Frances Valentine collections to this day. She introduced a new wave of femininity into her work with a niche for uncouth and independent women, in an era of male-dominated civility. She was far ahead of her time. She even was the subject of The Museum of Modern Art's first retrospective of a woman artist. Her name would have been as recognizable today as Georgia O'Keeffe, if it weren’t for an arguably prejudiced and ill-informed biographer tasked with penning her legacy after her passing in 1944. 

Her highest-profile series, “The Cathedrals” can be seen pictured in archival images of the space. They now have found their permanent home on the walls of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Not only was the studio a place for her to work, but it was a space for her to work on. She was a strong practitioner of Gesamtkunstwerk, a German term that translates to "total work of art." It describes a work of art that combines different art forms to create a cohesive whole. The studio became a living frame for her mind. Lavished with the furniture Stetteimer designed, her home became a work of art in itself. From curtains to couches, the space was draped in cellophane, a futuristic style well beyond her time.

Woman To Woman

A hundred years later, the legacy of Florine Stetteimer continues. Stetteimer was a brave and passionate creator, pushing her works of art through transformative years as a feminist pioneer inspiring the work and minds of her contemporaries. As a woman-founded, and woman-run business, creating in a space once inhabited by a feminist pioneer in the arts is an immense honor. 

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