biography of Maurice STERNE (1878-1957)

Birth place: Libau, Latvia

Death place: Mount Kisco, NY

Addresses: (Came to NYC in 1889/citizen, 1904); Taos, NM; Mount Kisco, NY/Provincetown, MA

Profession: Painter, sculptor, mural painter

Studied: T. Eakins, NAD, 1894-99, in 1904 won NAD Traveling Scholarship to study in Europe, remaining overseas until 1915 (see comments); Cooper Union Art School

Exhibited: NAD, 1900-50 (prizes, 1935, 1945); PAFA Ann., 1900-07, 1931-56 (prize 1939, medal 1949); Boston AC, 1901-03; S. Indp. A., 1917, 1936, 1941; Corcoran Gal biennials, 1919-57 (16 times, incl. gold medal, 1930); Salons of Am., 1923-25, 1930; Third Biennial Int., Rome, 1925 (represented U.S.); AIC, 1928 (Logan medal); P&S Los Angeles, 1930; MoMA,1933 (solo); GGE, 1939 (prize); WMAA.

Member: NA; Associated Artists, NYC; Sculptors Guild; NIAL

Work: MMA; WMAA; MoMA; BM; BMFA; CMA; Worcester AM; Detroit IA; San Diego FASoc.; AIC; RISD; AGAA; Yale Univ.; Kaiser Friedrich Mus., Berlin; Cologne Mus., Germany; Tate Gal., London; Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA; murals, Dept. Justice, Wash., DC. (Francis Henry Taylor called his Rogers-Kennedy Memorial in Worcester, MA, "The greatest piece of outdoor statuary in America.")

Comments: At the beginning of his career Sterne spent almost ten years studying and traveling overseas, visiting France, where he admired Cezanne and Monet, spending 1907 in Greece, 1908-11 in Italy, and traveling to Greece, Egypt, India, and Burma in 1911, and finally, from 1912-15, living on the island of Bali. He became well-known for his Bali studies, which show an affinity to the work of Gauguin and Cezanne. Sterne returned to NYC in 1915, and that summer was the first of many spent in Provincetown. Sterne moved to Taos in 1916, and married his first wife, the impressario of high society, Mable Dodge. In Taos, he modeled in clay and painted and sketched Native Americans, but in 1918 he returned to Italy and soon thereafter divorced. In 1933, he became the first American artist given a solo show at MoMA. Sterne's style changed dramatically in 1945, after he became ill while summering in Provincetown. He began painting freely brushed, richly colored marinescapes that were more spontaneous than his earlier work. Sterne also painted on Monhegan Island, ME. Teacher: ASL; Calif. School of FA, 1935-36.

Sources: WW53; WW47; Falk, Exh. Record Series; Baigell, Dictionary; 300 Years of American Art, 749; C.C. Mayerson, Shadows and Light: Life, Friends, and Opinions of Maurice Sterne (1966); Hughes, Artists of California, 534; P&H Samuels (report alternate birthdate of 1877, 464-65); Curtis, Curtis, and Lieberman, 186; Crotty, 47.