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Florine Stettheimer
Set and costume design for Four Saints in Three Acts, an opera by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson
1934
Florine and Ettie Stettheimer Papers

(below) Bergdorf Goodman advertisement for “Saint” gown, unidentified clipping
[about 1934]
Florine and Ettie Stettheimer Papers

(below) Carl Van Vechten
Gimbel’s Department Store, New York
Window displaying “4 Suits in 2 Acts”
19 April 1934
Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers

Florine Stettheimer described this photo of the Four Saints in Three Acts set as “Act I. Cathedral of Avila glass portal chained lions Cyclorama of blue cellophane.” The artist’s innovative set and costumes for the opera were both strange and beautiful and they received almost as much attention in the press as Gertrude Stein’s text. That there was much tongue-wagging in New York City about Four Saints in Three Acts and Florine Stettheimer’s costumes for the production is evident in references to them in women’s fashions of the day. One advertisement for “4 Wraps in Cellophane,” imitates Stein’s writing to promote imitations of Stettheimer’s cellophane costumes: Might it be silver if it were not cellophane. Wrap number one red lacquer red red silver lacquer. Wrap number two in white. And bright. And right. And quite. The height of right for night so arbitrarily right. Wrap number three canaries singing yellow in trees in Chinese trees. Wrap number four in blue in blue in blue and blue and dimly dimly brightly blue.”1

1 “4 Wraps in Cellophane with apologies to Gertrude Stein,” unidentified clipping, [about 1934,] Florine and Ettie Stettheimer Papers.

 

 

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Stein

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