Hedda Sterne, a versatile and innovative artist, was born as Hedwig Lindenberg on August 4, 1910, in Bucharest, Romania. After attending drawing and sculpture classes at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Vienna and studying art history and philosophy at the University of Bucharest, Sterne went on to learn from renowned artists such as Fernand Leger, Andre Lhote, and Marcel Janco.
By the 1930s, Sterne was well established as an artist when she was introduced to the Surrealists by family friend Victor Brauner. In October 1938, she participated in the 11th Exposition of Salon des Surindependants in Paris, where her work caught the attention of Hans Arp. Arp subsequently included her in a group show at Peggy Guggenheim's London Gallery, Guggenheim Jeune.
As World War II began, Sterne traveled between Bucharest, Paris, and Vienna. Due to her Jewish heritage, she fled Bucharest in 1941 and settled in New York. There, she integrated into a group of European émigrés and became part of the artistic milieu, meeting influential artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Leger, Piet Mondrian, and Yves Tanguy.
In 1943, Sterne participated in several group exhibitions, including the Exhibition by 31 Women, which showcased her work “Katsonarock” (1941). Throughout her career, Sterne's artistic style and approach varied widely, which often led to criticism.
Sterne married Ben Sterne in 1938 and divorced him in 1944. That same year, she married fellow Romanian artist Saul Steinberg, though the couple separated in 1960. Despite her personal challenges, Hedda Sterne remained an active and influential figure in the art world, particularly among the Abstract Expressionists, a group known as the "Irascibles."
Hedda Sterne passed away on April 8, 2011, in New York, leaving behind a rich legacy of diverse and thought-provoking art. Her work can be found in the Archives of American Art and the Hedda Sterne Foundation Archives.
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