08 September 2011

Stettheimer Dollhouse

Portrait of My Sister, Carrie W. Stettheimer, 1923 by Florine Stettheimer

The other evening I was sitting at my desk with he television on in the background when Dr. Who came on. I know very little of Dr. Who. Suffice to say, I am aware that the show has a huge following and even the people who follow it with great vigor, the so called Whovians, sometimes find themselves lost in Who-ville. I began to pay attention when I saw that the time travelers were abducted by a child and sent to live in a dollhouse with some really creepy dolls.

This made me think -- If I were to get trapped in a doll house by some weirdly alien child, which dollhouse would I want to get trapped in. Clearly the question was a no-brainer. Carrie Stettheimer's Dollhouse, of course.

The Stettheimer Sisters were an interesting bunch. (As an only child, I never could grasp the concept of siblings, and while I can think of nothing worse than "sisters", I do admit an unnatural fascination with them.)

In the Stettheimer household, there were three sisters of note.

Florine, Carrie, and Ettie Stettheimer

Florine was a painter who refused to sell or show her work.

Carrie managed the household and spent somewhere between 18 and 25 years building a dollhouse.

Ettie was writer of overwrought, slightly feminist, lovelorn novels.

Carrie Stettheimer filled the dollhouse with recreations of the rooms in the Stettheimer house. The sisters used their house as a salon and the numerous painters and artist who visited, joined in Carrie dollhouse fantasy by painting tiny replicas of some their most important works. Even Marcel Duchamp made Carrie a tiny Nude Descending a Staircase.

The Stettheimer dollhouse is roughly 28 inches tall, 50 inches long, and 35 inches wide and it resides at the Museum of the City of New York.

So if, perchance, you run into Dr. Who and you have to be sucked into a dollhouse, this is the one. I could definitely live there, if the sisters moved out.


  1. I've often thought about building a dollhouse.........I've somewhat satisfied the craving by building gingerbread houses at christmas.
    This dollhouse is a work of art........just beautiful.

  2. I'm amazed that Dr Who has become so internationally popular - I'm old enough to remember the first episode of Dr Who and the actor who seemed ancient to me. I never really liked the series and have not kept up with it.

    Queen Mary's Dollouse by Lutyens is the one to live in!

  3. Oh my! I could spend all day reading your blog. Oh, that's what I'm doing, yay!

  4. awesome vintage stuff! you really catch me with your incredible stuff!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin