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A PARTY FOR FLORINE by Yevgenia Nayberg Kirkus Star


Florine Stettheimer and Me

by Yevgenia Nayberg ; illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg

Pub Date: July 16th, 2024
ISBN: 9780823454105
Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

An artist finds kinship in the life and work of American painter Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944).

A light-skinned young child who comes across Florine’s self-portrait in a museum is startled to discover that the artist resembles her. The child explores the parallels between their lives as artistic Jewish girls and ultimately commits to embracing Florine’s vibrant spirit. If she could throw a party for Florine, she would serve “blue pancakes,” and the two would “paint and dance and write poetry!” Stepping outside, the child adopts Florine’s perspective: “The world around me is full of color and full of surprise.” Nayberg succinctly shares the usual biographical details, including important dates, family, training—information that can be supplemented by her comprehensive author’s note. But it’s the author’s obvious reverence for Florine that gives this retrospective an unexpected intimacy. Lyrical lines describe Florine’s art, with its “skinny cats’’ and “tilted buildings growing like trees,” as well as her glamorous New York City life of poetry and parties (“lounging around in white silk pants!” with the likes of Marcel Duchamp). Illustrated in dynamic, mostly primary colors that mirror Florine’s customary palettes, Nayberg’s images of oversize flowers, flying people, and jazz-filled salons are ebullient, flamboyant even. Florine’s four-part Cathedrals of New York series on the endpapers, plus a reproduced self-portrait in the backmatter, gives readers an excellent sense of her work.

A passionate ode to a pioneering female artist whose influence endures and inspires.

(Informational picture book. 5-10)