Hedda Sterne – The Discovery of Early Years 1910-1941, PostModernism Museum Publishing House 2015, ISBN 978-606-93751-1-2
Study presenting the research on the Avangardist Romanian born artist Hedda Sterne`s life and work in Europe, until she left for New Work in 1941.
Family Life and House
Exhibitions in Bucharest and Paris
Early Artworks & Series
Elite European Modernist & Avant-Garde Circle of Friends
Rewind the story behind the beginning
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The project ”Hedda Sterne – The Discovery of Early Years 1910-1941” is dedicated to the important discovery by the Romanian curator Cosmin Nasui, made in Bucharest in April 2014, consisting of documents, photographs and the body of artworks created by Hedda Sterne until 1941, before she left Romania. Kept locked for more than 75 years in time, this treasure survived miraculously, being encapsulated within a private collection.
Born in Romania in 1910, Hedda Sterne moved in the U.S in 1941, where her works later found their way to the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. It is still difficult to start to introduce Hedda Sterne other than with the clichés that described her either as the only female in the Abstract Expressionist group the Irascible 18 or the wife of the famous artist Saul Steinberg.
Before the move to New York in 1941, the life and creation of Hedda Sterne is not enough known and researched. Her European story is not yet told and the importance of it is still to be discovered. Hedda Sterne was an influential personality with an artistic career in Romania and Europe. She was very well connected in the cultural field, with elite friends active in the European Avant-Garde, all to become well-known names in the history of arts (Marcel Janco, Victor Brauner, Jules Perahim, Jean David, Theodor Brauner).
From 1924 to 1941 Hedda Sterne created multiple forms of art which could be seen as series in the flux of the preoccupation. There are surrealist compositions with fantasy and fairy tale atmosphere, with princesses and castles surrounded by huge scale flowers. Collages were part of her artistic research and the hazard is extremely present within the artworks. Hedda was using different cut-outs from magazines and papers, which she threw on another paper. She would glue them as they accidentally lie down and integrate them with drawings in surrealistic strange compositions. Portraits were very important for Hedda Sterne all along her career, including her early years. Here, Hedda was not trying to make studies of them in a realistically matter but practicing studies of people expressions. There are portraits which are actually compositions, introducing elements like a window and the landscape that can be viewed upon it. In some other drawings, she unveiled a character’s personality not by use of portrait but of particular parts of the body, for example only hands. Hedda Sterne also used self introspection. There are different series of self portraits that have special focus on eyes, ears, mouth and hair.
What is less or not known is Hedda Sterne’s career as a sculptor. In Europe, she reached art critic acclaims for her publicly exhibited sculptures. They reached a very high level of recognition in their times, fact that tagged Hedda Sterne as a sculptor in the Romanian art history.
Further research is on the way, thus aiming to complete the understanding of creation for one of the important female artists in the modern art history.