Frances Simpson Stevens

Annotated Bibliography: Frances Simpson Stevens

Berghaus, Günter. International Futurism in Arts and Literature. De Gruyter, 2000. European Cultures. EBSCOhost. Web. This book performs an in-depth analysis of the development of futurism, tracking individual artists from around the world and the impact of their work. The first chapter provides a political history of Futurism, while subsequent chapters dig into the persona lives and careers of artists, beginning with Marinetti and his critics. In a section focusing on “Italian Futurism and Avant-Garde Painting in the United States,” Lisa Panzera details the relationship between Mina Loy and Frances Simpson Stevens, and goes on to narrate Stevens’s later life and the impact she had on Modernism in the United States after she returned from Italy (227-230).

Burke, Carolyn. Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy. 1st ed., New York, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1996. Print. This book biographies the artist and poet Mina Loy, focusing not only on her career but also her personal life and relationships. Burke explains how different artists and lovers impacted Loy, and how Loy in turn influenced the communities and avant-garde movements with which she interacted. Burke breaks down her analysis by location and time-period. In the section detailing Florence between 1913 and 1914, Burke follows the friendship between Mina Loy and Mabel Dodge, explaining how Dodge eventually connected Loy with Frances Simpson Stevens—a young artist from New York who could rent Loy’s available studio space (143-151). Burke goes on to depict the relationship between Loy and Stevens, which grew from mentorship to friendship, and show how the two women became acquainted with Marinetti and the Italian Futurists (150-154).

Burke, Carolyn and Naomi Sawelson-Gorse. “In Search of Frances Simpson Stevens.” Art in America, 82.4 (1994): 106-115. Print. This source pieces together the lost details of Stevens’s biography, detailing her childhood, personal life, and career. Burke and Sawelson-Gorse track the development of Stevens’s artistic style, the shows in which she exhibited, and the relationships she formed in Italy and the United States. “Until recently neither the basic facts of her biography could be verified,” they explain, “nor the circumstances of her involvement determined” (106). The article focuses in particular on the dynamism of Stevens’s work, how she engaged gender artistically, and her interactions with “Marinetti’s machine esthetic” (111).

“Frances Simpson Stevens 1911 (1894-1976).” Helen Temple Cooke Library, Dana Hall School, 16 Sept. 2011, This source focuses entirely on Frances Simpson Stevens, narrating her life from the time she was born in Chicago, IL to the time she died, “an equestrian with a stable of 22 horses” in California. Stevens attended the Dana Hall School, an elite boarding school in Wellesley, Massachusetts. This piece, published on the school’s library website, was originally written as a “person of the week” in 2006 to highlight the accomplishments of one of their most famous alumni. The biography provides particular detail about Stevens’s early life as a student, but goes on to clearly outline her career, her relationship with Prince Dimitri Golitsyn, and her later life.

Naumann, Francis M. “A Lost American Futurist.” Art in America, 82.4 (1994): 104-113. Print. This article centers entirely around Francis Simpson Stevens, attempting to unearth her as an influential American artist among the Italian Futurists. Naumann does the scholarly work to piece together Steven’s often ignored career using “recently discovered photographs, exhibition records and other clues” (105). The article moves chronologically through Stevens’s life, discussing her development as an artist and her various paintings in detail. Naumann analyzes the changing representational nature of her work, the type of paint she used and how she applied it, and the critical response she received. Nauman also discusses Stevens’s cartoons and drawings, which are often ignored in favor of her paintings (110). This broad analysis of Stevens’s art presents her as a dynamic, multidimensional figure of the avant-garde.

Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Dynamic Velocity of Interborough Rapid Transit Power Station.” 2017,  Web. This analysis of Francis Simpson Stevens’s last known preserved painting, provided by the archive which holds it, positions the piece within Stevens’s career, the Futurist movement in Italy, and Modernism in the United States. Additionally, the article provides biographical information about Stevens’s that depicts her as an influential artist, committed to learning and sharing the dynamic artistic vision of the Futurists. Finally, because Stevens’s Dynamic Velocity of Interborough Rapid Transit Power Station is within the larger collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a reader is uniquely able to compare and contrast the painting with other surviving works by different artists.

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