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 Caroline Stehlin  (1877 - 1928)

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Lived/Active: New York/Maine      Known for: figure-portrait, still life, landscape painting

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Ad Code: 3
Caroline Stehlin
from Auction House Records.
Still Life With Roses
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
This following biography was researched, compiled, and written by Geoffrey K. Fleming, Director, Southold Historical Society, Southold, NY.

CAROLINE "CARRIE" STEHLIN (April 9, 1877 - September 8, 1928)

Landscape, figure, and still-life painter.  Born in New York, the youngest child of Katherine Sperzel (1840 - 1919) and Charles V. Stehlin (1836 - 1909).  Her full name was actually "Philippine Caroline Stehlin," a difficult name which probably led her it simply go by the name "Caroline."  Charles Stehlin was a veteran of the American Civil War (Sergeant in Company A of the 72nd NY State Infantry Regiment) and was a successful ship captain and a noted stamp collector part of whose collection was sold at auction in 1907.  He and his wife had three children, Katherine (1873 - 1960), Joseph (1875 - 1917), and Caroline (1877 - 1928).

Caroline's abilities in regards to art must have appeared quite early on.  Sometime during the 1890's she began studying painting with William Merritt Chase (1849 - 1916) at his summer art school at Shinnecock, Southampton, Long Island (the school operated from 1891 - 1902).  It is unclear, but more than likely, that she also studied at Chase's New York School of Art during the regular school season.  Stehlin continued to return to eastern Long Island, New York to paint following the completion of her immediate studies under Chase.

In 1900 the Stehlin family was living in a townhouse they owned and that was located at 162 East 93rd Street in New York City.  Caroline's profession was listed as an "artist" in the census of that year.  Her sister Katherine Stehlin was also an artist and jewelry designer.  She won 2nd prize at the School of Applied Design for Women for her designs for the manufacture of silk in 1906.  It was from her home on 93rd Street that Caroline would submit works locally as well as across the country, including to institutions in the middle part of America.  

Her several submissions to these mid-west institutions brings forth a question:  Did she study out there as well?  Currently no information can be found to prove or disprove this theory.  However, her accepted submissions in Cincinnati, OH, and St. Louis, MO, might indicate that she had some connection, either artistic or familial, with these locations.  She is also believed to have worked in the state of Florida and in Europe.

Supposedly, Stehlin left New York in 1903 to work at Ogunquit, Maine and to possibly study with Charles Woodbury (1864 - 1940) or John Henry Twachtman (1853 - 1902).  Though there are known, identified paintings from the period of this part of Maine, there is no supporting evidence for her studying with anyone in particular while there (she could not have studied with Twachtman as he had died the year before).  One of the works created during this period, entitled Low Tide, Coast of Maine, was exhibited at the National Academy in New York in 1907.  One source also notes she lived in Pennsylvania for a time.

The death of Caroline's father in 1909 did not appear to alter her work as an artist.  In fact, Caroline's greatest period of exhibition occurred in the years just following his death.  This included her 1911 submission to the Buffalo Academy of Fine Arts, Arrangement in Blue and White, which was noted as being " . . . a gem in art, one of the most refined yet broadly-handled pictures in the exhibition."  At the Women's Art Club exhibition at the Knoedler Gallery that year she was awarded a special prize for one of her still-life paintings.  

In 1917 the Stehlin family oversaw the liquidation of the remaining portion of Charles V. Stehlin's famous stamp collection.  The sale was organized by J. M. Bartels & Company, located at 90 Nassau Street in New York City.  It apparently took place in May of 1917 and was noted by the company as being "The most important sale we have ever held."

Caroline appears to have stopped exhibiting during the teens, but stayed somewhat in the spotlight by aiding with the war effort and supporting the Belgian-American Fund in 1915.  Why Stehlin stopped exhibiting is unknown.  After 1911 she disappears from regional exhibitions.  According to one source, Stehlin's supposed departure to Florida in 1912 could be one reason she vanished from the north-eastern exhibition scene.  Following this period only one other exhibition is noted.  This exhibit took place in Ogunquit, Maine, in 1921 - a decade after her last shows.

During the 1920's sisters Katherine & Caroline were living together on 7th Avenue & 125th Street in the Hotel Theresa.  The Hotel Theresa was built as an apartment hotel in 1913.  Apartment hotels were those that "offered suites that catered primarily to long term guests, many of whom maintained their permanent residences in the building."  The hotel became famous, and would be known as the "Waldorf of Harlem."  The sisters also continued summering in Ogunquit, Maine - something they had done regularly since about 1910.

Around 1924 Caroline was diagnosed with cancer.  She retired from active painting and continued to summer up near the art colony at Ogunquit.  It was there that she would die from complications (pneumonia) relating to her cancer on Saturday, the 8th of September, 1928 (Some sources report Stehlin's death as 1954, which is in error).  Her death was reported to authorities by her sister, Katherine.  Caroline was just fifty-one years old.  She was buried in the family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery, located in the Bronx, New York.  

Caroline Stehlin's known exhibitions include the following:  New York School of Art (Shinnecock Exhibition), New York, NY, 1900 (Honorable Mention); Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, 1904 - 1906, 1908 - 1911; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, 1904 - 1905, 1907 - 1908, 1910; National Academy of Design, New York, NY, 1907 - 1909; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1907 - 1910; St. Louis Museum of Fine Arts, St. Louis, MO, 1908; Society of Western Artists, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH, 1909; Woman's Art Club at MacBeth Gallery, New York, NY, 1910 - 1911; Woman's Art Club at Knoedler Gallery, New York, NY, Spring 1911 (Special Prize); Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, 1911; City Art Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, 1911; Village Studio Guild Exhibition, Ogunquit, ME, 1921.

Her paintings are uncommon, but of exceptionally high quality, showing a distinct understanding and keen observation of light and atmosphere.  At this time (2010) none of her works are known to be in any public collections, though a number reside in private hands (those that have appeared were mainly held by family members, including her niece and nephews).

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born April 4, 1877, died September 8, 1928.

Caroline Stehlin was a skilled and talented painter.  From family records and photographs we learn she was a student of William Merritt Chase both in Shinnecock, Long Island and also in Europe. We also know she spent time in Oqunquit, Maine.  Furthermore, she lived and painted in the Daytona Beach, Florida area in 1912, at a time when few artists had established studios in the Sunshine State.

She exhibited at the Carnegie Institute, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Art Institute of Chicago and the prestigious National Academy of Design.

Terry Wallace, Fine-Art Professional

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