Florine Stettheimer“Heat”, 1919
Oil on Canvas
50” x 36”
Brooklyn Museum

Florine Stettheimer’s Heat is an apt vision of what we are feeling here in Northern California. It is dry, hot and the air is filled with smoke; our sky is not the usual clear blue. A heat wave has again sparked wildfires across our beautiful state. 

I can imagine myself at an outdoor “distanced” birthday gathering in Stettheimer’s painting. Though the elegant figures have comfortable seats six feet apart and a lovely table set with what seems to be a birthday cake, this palette of orange, yellow and murky green, along with the limp tree branches and wilting human limbs, convey the stifling heat and oppressive inertia of a very hot day.