Monday, December 16, 2019

Celine & Florine

Portrait of My Sister, Ettie Stettheimer, 1928
by Florine Stettheimer, 1871–1944
Victoria Reis: "Stettheimer’s portrait of her younger sister Ettie places her in a dark, starlit setting in front of a combination burning bush-Christmas tree, perhaps to signify the family’s cultural assimilation as Jews who celebrated Christmas. Like Florine, the subject also appears to be floating in space, lounging on a red fainting couch. An ornament on the tree, a red book inscribed with the name “Ettie,” represents Ettie’s role as the author and intellectual of the family."

Stettheimer's Christmas painting is the perfect accompaniment to this poem -- by my friend ~ Celine -- that I came across when looking through an old Christmas scrapbook from grad school days:

Presents wrapped in paper --
presents tied with bows!
Outward signs can help us
signal deeper things we know.

Can any gift be greater
than the persons in this place,
each given to the others
for beauty, joy, and grace?
will we stop today to stare
at each and every face?
Will we take the time to care,
or just hurry on and race
to open
presents wrapped in paper --
presents tied with bows?

Outward signs can help us
signal gifts we could forget
we know.

Merry Christmas and Blessings
Always ~ Sister Celine Carrigan
December 13, 1983

For more paintings by Florine Stettheimer,
see my current post:

Celine & Florine

@The Fortnightly Kitti Carriker
A literary blog of connection & coincidence;
custom & ceremony

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