Concept Gallery
Live Auction

Fine Art, Antiques, Jewelry Design Auction

Sat, Jun 11, 2022 10:00AM EDT
Lot 398

Hedda Sterne 1990 Untitled Abstraction oil and pastel on canvas

Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$400 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,500
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
Sterne, Hedda Lindenberg (Romanian/American, 1910-2011), Untitled, 1990, oil and pastel on canvas, 36 x 24 inches, signed, dated and inscribed for Stephanie on canvas reverse, unframed. Provenance: Gift of the Artist, New York; Stephanie Ulmer, New York; the current owner, Pittsburgh, PA. Hedda Sterne is one of the many European artists dislocated by the Second World War who found refuge in the United States. Born in Bucharest, Romania in 1916 as Hedda Lindenberg to a highly cultured family, she was unusually gifted in languages as a child. She studied philosophy and art history at Bucharest University from 1932 to 1934, though she did not get her degree. Sterne, however, did study art in Vienna and Paris, where she became part of the group of Surrealists, exhibiting while quite young in the Paris Salon of Surrealist Independents in 1938. She was especially influenced by Victor Brauner, a Rumanian artist she had known in Bucharest as well as Paris. The early to mid-40s were important to Sterne both on a personal and artistic basis. She emigrated to the United States in 1941, became an American citizen, and divorced her first husband, Ben Sterne in 1944, whom she had married in 1938, and married cartoonist Saul Steinberg from whom she separated in the 1960s. Because of the Surrealist inclinations of Sterne and Peggy Guggenheim, Sterne had shown work at Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery in 1941. Sterne's long-time-dealer-to-be, Betty Parsons, saw her work there and gave Sterne a show in 1943. In 1950, "Life" magazine featured Sterne as a "promising young American painter" (Rubinstein 276) and in 1951 was featured in the same magazine with her husband in an article tilted "Steinberg and Sterne". The subject matter of Sterne's paintings was essentially machine-based during the 40s and 50s, whether Surrealist or more abstract in style. Some of her works depicted hurtling trains, derricks, and bridges as though they were looming monsters. She also did semi-abstract cityscapes, and increasingly non-objective paintings with horizontal bands and stripes of color. Though Sterne was associated with the painters who would become famous as first generation Abstract-Expressionists (Pollock, De Kooning, et al), and appeared with them as the only woman in the 1950 photograph by Nina Lean of those then known as "The Irrascibles," she never painted in an Abstract-Expressionist style. In 1973, she received a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Venice. Exhibitions include retrospectives at the Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey, in 1977 and Queens Museum, New York, in 1985.