Gertrude Stein was an American author and art collector who lived in Paris and was held in high esteem there. Stein was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 3, 1874, even though she spent most of her childhood in Oakland, California.
She uprooted her life and relocated to Paris when she was 29 years old, and she remained an expatriate there for the rest of her life.
Stein may be most remembered for her salon at 27 Rue de Fleurus, which welcomed some of the most prominent artists and authors working in modernist art and literature.
Pablo Picasso, Ezra Pound, Henri Matisse, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Sinclair Lewis were among her frequent visitors.
Stein was an early proponent of same-sex relationships, which she wrote about in her best-selling book, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, written by her life partner, Alice B. Toklas.
Even though the circles she regularly entertained were legendary, Stein was also an early proponent of same-sex relationships.
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Importance in History and Continuing Effects
Gertrude Stein’s writings on lesbian romance were historically significant even before she became famous for her art collection and people. Her works, such as Q. E. D., Fernhurst, Three Lives, and The Making of Americans, deal with relationships between people of the same sexual orientation.
Sometimes Stein’s acquaintances are included in her works. In the piece titled Tender Buttons, Stein is also seen writing about lesbian sexuality. Following moving to Paris in 1903, she wrote every one of her works there after that year.
Stein is also of significant historical relevance because she was a Jewish lady living in France, which the Nazis occupied during World War II.
Many people believe that Stein could only continue living in Paris as an art collector because Bernard Fa, a high-ranking officer in the Vichy administration and a Nazi collaborator, assured her safety during the war. This allowed Stein to continue her life as an art collector.
Collection of artworks
Again, Gertrude’s fantastic collection of art and the people she filled her house with are among the most recognized contributions she made to Paris in the early 20th century. Both of these aspects of her legacy continue to be remembered today.
Stein planned to throw a formal gathering on Saturday evening to greet and interact with her roster of artists of various genres. This was done to ensure that she would not be interrupted while working on her writing throughout the day.
Alice B. Toklas, Stein’s life partner, would host the men’s wives, girlfriends, and mistresses in a separate room while Stein entertained the talented men in the famed 27 Rue de Fleurus salon. Stein’s salon was known as the 27 Rue de Fleurus.
Stein and her older brother Leo Stein had already filled their studio with paintings by Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri Manguin, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec by the beginning of 1906, just three years after moving to Paris.
This was before her salon with Alice B. Toklas. During their time together in Paris, the couple contributed to two of the most renowned art displays by donating items from their collection and, on occasion, by attending the featured artists in the exhibits.
Both of these exhibits took place when the couple was in Paris.
Everything Runs in the Family
Even though Stein was endowed with an eye for picking the following great artists, the ability to recognize outstanding artists and invest in them was a family characteristic. Stein was certainly left with an eye for identifying the following great painters.
Michael, the Stein sibling with the most senior years, and Sarah, his wife, were both avid art collectors. The couple’s affinity for Henri Matisse’s work was evident in how they displayed their collection, as they prioritized the pieces he created.
Gertrude Stein was also a collector of Matisse’s art, although her salon had more paintings, drawings, and sculptures by Renoir, Picasso, and Cezanne than it did Matisse.