Gertrude Stein and Family… at the Grand Palais…

Gertrude Stein

Writer… poet…

Art Collector

A passion… for Art…

A formidable force…

Larger than life

Literally…

Having recently read “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas“, written by Gertrude Stein, which was in fact her own autobiography, relaying and documenting her amazing lifestyle in Paris, where in her legendary Saturday night artistic and literarySalon“, Gertrude was described as someone who…

“…collected geniuses rather than masterpieces”.

Gertrude’s formidable collection of… artists and writers… soon had a world wide reputation.

It was the period 1903 to 1914, where she lived with her art critic and author brother, Leo, at 27 rue de Fleurus – that she became… well-knownfamous… legendary

I was… more than excited… to visit a major exhibition at the inspirational Galeries Nationales of the Grand Palais

Matisse, Cézanne, Picasso… L’aventure des Stein“…

It did not dissappoint

Actually, it was…

Magnificient

Reminiscent of an era that was…

À la recherche de la Belle Époque… à Paris“…

Mythique…

Extraordinaire…

A period prolific in its creative geniuses… of artists and writers, the likes of Matisse… Cézanne… Picasso… Renoir… Derain… Hemingway… F. Scott Fitzgerald… Max Jacob… Guillaume Apollinaire

Visiting the massive and impressive Grand Palais exhibition…

I was overwhelmed

Gertrude Stein

Literally came to life for me

Through this “…Adventure of the Steins” exhibition…

I seemed to be actually… in her presence… so to speak…

The woman who became the confidante of Picasso Matisse, and one of their greatest collectors

Came to life“… “became real“… talking… laughing… eating… visiting with friends… walking with her beloved dog… accompanied by her… life-long partner Alice B. Toklas

Gertrude… her brothers Leo, Michael, and wife Sarah… were from 1904 to 1914…

“…the most active well-informed connoisseurs of the Paris Avant-Garde, particularly Fauvism and Cubism”.

Having visualised Matisse’s “Woman with a Hat“, Picasso’s spectacular “Boy Leading a Horse“, as well as his 1906 “Portrait of Gertrude Stein“, and “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon“, while leafing through the pages of her engaging book, “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas”, which became a best-seller on its publication in 1933…

At the exhibition… I literally came face to face… with those very same brilliant paintings hanging patiently and proudly on the walls of… Le Grand Palais.

They were… breathtakingly beautiful

Moving me… to near tears…

Yet… and yetnothing… could compare to the collection of Art masterpieces on the walls of the Stein’s... 27 rue de Fleurus salon crammed with the “Avante-Gardepaintings… which attracted the great and the famous of the time…

The handsome and colourful Hemingway, to whom she was a mentor, and god-mother of his son, as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald… Ezra Pound, Thornton Wilder, and Sherwood Anderson… whereby she invented the term… “Lost Generation“… for those expatriate American writers

Another riveting feature for me… at the exhibition… were the video projected photographs of the Stein’s apartment… starting at empty“… with a few paintings

Gradually.. the projected images… revealed the sparsely art adorned walls of the Stein’s apartment filling up… higher and higher… from floor to ceiling… with the splendour of the Picassos RenoirsMatisses… among many others… until they overflowed and covered the walls… which prompted Henry McBride (Art critic for the New York Sun) to write of the Stein’s Art collection

“In proportion to its size and quality, it is just about the most potent of any that I have ever heard of in history”.

“J’adore le… concept… du “Salon des Steins

“J’adorais leur… collection d’Art“…

One could almost hear those “greats“… talking… arguing… debating… with their friend and mentor Gertrudenearly palpating… their creativity… energy… and passionfor their Art.

They came… “vividly to life“… for me… 

It was… awesome.

Divine.

“J’aurai souhaité y être”…

I would have loved to be in… their fascinating company their presence

Althoughvery human, they were…

Magical

Mythical

But the… fulcrum… of all that body of greatness was…

Gertrude Stein.

Extremely charming… eloquent…

Cultured… influential

Pivotal.

The exhibition… did her justice.

It fulfilled her desire… to be rememberedhonoured… for her monumental achievement… in the city she loved…

Paris.

The city where… she lived… for the rest of her life

Gertrude Stein

I was immensely moved and humbled… by your passion for the Arts… and your nurturing of the “greatest of the great“.

Your impeccable legacy

Has… enriched the Art and Literary worlds

For generations to come

We thank you.

We… will always

Remember you

We… will never

Forget you

a.

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