Hedda Sterne (August 4, 1910 – April 8, 2011) was a Romanian-born American artist who was an active member of the New York School of painters. Her work is often associated with Abstract Expressionism and Surrealism.
Sterne was born as Hedwig Lindenberg in Bucharest, Romania, on August 4, 1910. She was the daughter of Jewish parents Eugenie (née Wexler) and Simon Lindenberg, a language teacher. Her older brother and only sibling, Edouard Lindenberg (1908–1973), would become a prominent conductor in Paris.
As a young child, Sterne and her brother were educated in music and languages. In addition to Romanian, Sterne was taught to read German, French, and English. She would recall the importance of German philosophy texts and art history books in her development as an artist. Initially encouraged to study piano, Sterne eventually succeeded in convincing her parents to allow her to study art instead. With the encouragement of Max Hermann Maxy, whom Sterne recalled as a student of her father's, she began formal training in 1918. Sterne's first art teacher was Maxy's former professor at the Bucharest National University of Arts, the sculptor Frederic Storck.
In 1919, Sterne's father Simon died and her mother remarried. By 1921, Sterne was attending the Institutul de Domnisoare Choisy-Mangâru, a private girl's school in Bucharest.
In the late 1920s, Sterne traveled regularly to Vienna, where she took classes in ceramics at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. In 1929 she enrolled at the University of Bucharest where she studied art history and philosophy with various notable intellectuals, including Tudor Vianu, Mircea Florian, and Nae Ionescu. In 1932, she married Friederich (Fritz) Stern (1905–1982; later known as Frederick (Fred) Stafford) and discontinued her formal education.
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