Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type



Art History

First Advisor

Kira van Lil


The canon of Abstract Expressionism ignores the achievements of female painters. This study examines one of the neglected artists involved in the movement, Hedda Sterne. Through in-depth analysis of her Machine series and New York, New York series, this study illuminates the differences and similarities of Sterne‟s paintings to the early stages of Abstract Expressionism. Sterne‟s work both engages with and expands the discussions of “primitive” signs, the sublime and urban abstraction. Her early training in Romania and experience of WWII as well as her use of mechanical symbols and spray paint contribute to a similar yet unique voice in Abstract Expressionism.