Monday, May 28, 2012

Last Call - Steins Collect at the Met, closing June 3



The Steins in the courtyard of 27 rue de Fleurus, ca. 1905, 

From left, Leo Stein, Allan Stein, Gertrude Stein, Theresa Ehrman, Sarah Stein, Michael Stein

Bancroft Library, Berkeley

The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso and the Parisian Avant-Garde,  February  28-June 3, 2012, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The poet/critic  André Salmon wrote in his memoir L’air de la Butte (1945): “When we went to poor Rousseau’s home, we dressed as carefully as when we were invited to visit the high society couturier and arts patron Paul Poiret. We dressed even better than when we went to see the Steins, the brother and sister millionaires who came from San Francisco, posed as transatlantic bohemians and lived near the Luxembourg Gardens. On those evenings on the rue de Fleurus, in a study adorned by [Picasso’s] excellent Saltimbanque Period canvases and in a boudoir studded, like stars, with little Renoirs, an ordinary suit from the wardrobe would do.”* 

According to John Richardson, in his second volume of Picasso’s biography,  Gertrude Stein was as capable of following a conversation in French as the artists were capable of following her writings in English – that is, not very well.


Marie Laurencin

Apollinaire and His Friends

1909
Musee National d’Art Modern, Paris

Left to right: Gertrude, Fernande Olivier, unidentified, Apollinaire, Picasso Marguerite Gillot, Maurice Crmnitz, and Laurencin



And even though Marie Laurencin included Gertrude Stein in her group portrait, Apollinaire and His Friends, 1909, neither she nor her siblings became members of the infamous circle that formed around Picasso, known as la bande à Picasso (Picasso’s Gang) – mostly notably: Salmon, Apollinaire, Max Jacob and Georges Braque, among others.

“And also and so and so and also,” Gertrude Stein might retort, quoting herself in “If I told him would he like it?  A Completed Portrait of Picasso” (1923).

Indeed, Ms. Stein, her brothers Leo and Michael, and her sister-in-law Sara, were a curious family among the artists, writers and intellectuals who gathered at their studio on Saturdays at 27 rue de Fleurus.  Not everyone admired their lifestyle, but almost everyone admired their taste.  Together they assembled one of the finest collections of modern art that ever graced the planet.   And to drink at the fountain of such ambrosia inspired even more exceptional works of art and art collections (The Barnes in Philadelphia and the Cones in Baltimore). 

Readers of the New York Review of Books who perused Michael Kimmelman’s recent article “Missionaries” on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso and the Parisian Avant-Garde, and Barbara Will’s book Unlikely Colloboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Fäy and the Vichy Dilemma (Columbia Press, 2011) may feel a bit less enchanted with Ms. Stein too, now that we know how this Jew in Paris survived the Nazi Occupation. 

How can one rationalize?  I’ll leave that to you.  For now, I recommend taking advantage of this rare occasion to view all these great works of art in one venue—and soon!  The show in New York closes on June 3rd.



Gertrude Stein, 1905–6

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)

Oil on canvas

39 3/8 x 32 in. (100 x 81.3 cm)

Bequest of Gertrude Stein, 1946 (47.106)

© 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York




The real heroes of The Stein Collection are the curators  Janet C. Bishop, Curator of Painting and Sculpture, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Cécile Debray, curator, Centre Pompidou; and Rebecca Rabinow, associate curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art, who assembled over 200 works from near and far. 


In the Metropolitan Museum, the exhibition takes over 10 rooms including the capacious entrance which features a giant photograph of Leo, Gertrude, Michael, Sara, their son Nathan, and a cousin.  Once inside, a space equal in dimensions to their famous studio on the rue de Fleurus serves as a screen for several slides that project the different arrangements on the walls – from ceiling to painted socle—crammed in Salon-style.  (One might imagine there must have been paintings in the bathroom.)
The extraordinary range of significant early masterpieces by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Pierre Bonnard, André Derain and other important members exceeds our expectations: Matisse’s Blue Nude of 1907, Picasso’s La Soupe of 1903, and, of course, Picasso’s famous Portrait of Gertrude Stein of 1906, which did not resemble her at first, but ( as the artist predicted) she slowly turned into it.  Numerous other portraits of GS fill the last gallery, including Jo Davidson’s beautiful Buddha-esque sculpture of 1922-23. 


If you are not able to visit the Metropolitan Museum before June 4 or would like to find out more about the Steins, here is a video that may serve as an adequate introduction:




*André Salmon, “From Plaisance de l’Opéra,” in L’air de la Butte, published in English in Source: The Online Publication of Literary Division, American Translation Association, No. 51 (Spring 2011): http://www.ata-divisions.org/LD/newsletter/2011/Spring2011SourceJune2.pdf (translated by Beth Gersh-Nešić and Jacqueline Gojard).

4 comments:

  1. Dear  ,
    they are right looking for the historic truth about Gertrude Stein in this however wonderfull exhibition,"The Steins Collect;Matisse,Picasso,Cezanne and the Parisian Avant Garde" in NewYork at the Metropolitan Museum of Art .

    Because what a pleasure to see the portrait of Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira .Who was as Picasso an antifascist and antinazi artist .Persecuted by Franco and the Nazis .
    But who is in this exhibition ,thanks to Rebecca Rabinow and Edward Burns, perhaps
    the only one artist would fought them weapons in his hands .
    Whose father was in jail after the spanish civil war .So Riba-Rovira is beside Tchelitchew and Balthus and Francis Rose near Picabia and Picasso in the last room of this exhibition with Cézanne, Matisse .

    And you have an interesting article in Appollo London Revew about him .And also in Artes Magazine from San Francisco where the exhibition was before .

    But the main document as a revelation is with the mention beside the picture with the Preface Gertrude Stein wrote for first Riba-Rovira's exhibition in the Galerie Roquepine in Paris on 1945 .
    Where we can read Gertrude Stein writing Riba-Rovira "will go farther than Cezanne...will succeed in where Picasso failed...I am fascinated " by Riba-Rovira Gertrude Stein tells us .

    And you are you also fascinated indeed as Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira ?

    Me I am when I see « L’Arlequin » on the free access website of « Galeria Muro ».

    But Gertrude Stein spoke also in this same document about Matisse and  Juan Gris .
    Riba-Rovira went each week in Gertrude Stein's saloon rue Christine with Masson ,Hemingway and others. By Edward Burns and Carl Van Vechten we can know Riba-Rovira did others portraits of Gertrude Stein .

    But we do not know where they are ;and you do you know perhaps ?

    With this wonderful portrait we do not forget it is the last time Gertrude Stein sat for an artist who is Riba-Rovira .
    This exhibition presents us a world success with this last painting portrait before she died .And her last Gertrude Stein's Art Retrospective before dead .



    It illuminates the tone as an esthetic light over that exhibition now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York thanks to Curator Rebecca Rabinow .

    Coming from San Francisco "Seeing five stories" in the Jewish museum to Washington in National Portrait Gallery .And now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York for our pleasure .

    And the must is to see for the first time in the same place portraits by Picasso, Picabia, Riba-Rovira, Rose ,Tall-Coat, Valloton .Never before it was .

    You have the translate of Gertrude Stein's Riba-Rovira Preface on english Gertrude Stein's page on Wikipedia and in the catalog of this Roquepine exhibition you can see in first place the mention of this portrait .And also other pictures Gertrude Stein bought to Riba-Rovira .
    There is another place where you can see now Riba-Rovira's works in an exhibition in Valencia in Spain "Homenage a Gertrude Stein" by Riba-Rovira in Galleria Muro ,if you like art ...

    But we do not missed today that all over Europe a very bad wind is blowing again bringing the worth in front of us .And we must know that at least were two antinazis and antifascists in this exhibition but the only one fighting weapons in hands would be Riba-Rovira who did one of the first three « affiches » supporting Republicans in the beguining Spanish civil war .

    Seeing Potrait of Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira in the Metropolitain Museum of New York with Picasso ,Cézanne ,Matisse we feel a recreation of spirit .

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  2. With the current controversy about Gertrude Stein and after the Edward Burns's answer it is interesting to Know one of the last Gertrude Stein's vew before dying when she speaks about art it is also politic .

    Stein's preface to the exhibition by Francisco Riba Rovira at Roquepine Gallery in May 1945:
    « It is inevitable that when we really need someone we find him. The person you need attracts you like a magnet. I returned to Paris, after these long years spent in the countryside and I needed a young painter, a young painter who would awaken me. Paris was magnificent, but where was the young painter? I looked everywhere: at my contemporaries and their followers. I walked a lot, I looked everywhere, in all the galleries, but the young painter was not there. Yes, I walk a lot, a lot at the edge of the Seine where we fish, where we paint, where we walk dogs (I am of those who walk their dogs). Not a single young painter!
    One day, on the corner of a street, in one of these small streets in my district, I saw a man painting. I looked at him; at him and at his painting, as I always look at everybody who creates something I have an indefatigable curiosity to look and I was moved. Yes, a young painter!
    We began to speak, because we speak easily, as easily as in country roads, in the small streets of the district. His story was the sad story of the young people of our time. A young Spaniard who studied in fine arts in Barcelona: civil war; exile; a concentration camp; escape. Gestapo, another prison, another escape... Eight lost years! If they were lost, who knows? And now a little misery, but all the same the painting. Why did I find that it was him the young painter, why? I visited his drawings, his painting: we speak.
    I explained that for me, all modern painting is based on what Cézanne nearly made, instead of basing itself on what he almost managed to make. When he could not make a thing, he hijacked it and left it. He insisted on showing his incapacity: he spread his lack of success: showing what he could not do, became an obsession for him. People influenced by him were also obsessed by the things which they could not reach and they began the system of camouflage. It was natural to do so, even inevitable: that soon became an art, in peace and in war, and Matisse concealed and insisted at the same time on that Cézanne could not realize, and Picassoconcealed, played and tormented all these things.
    The only one who wanted to insist on this problem, was Juan Gris. He persisted by deepening the things which Cézanne wanted to do, but it was too hard a task for him: it killed him.And now here we are, I find a young painter who does not follow the tendency to play with what Cézanne could not do, but who attacks any right the things which he tried to make, to create the objects which have to exist, for, and in themselves, and not in relation.
    This young painter has his weaknesses and his strengths. His force will push him in this road. I am fascinated and that is why he is the young painter who I needed. He is Francisco Riba Rovira. »
    Gertrude Stein

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  3. Perhaps you have something to tell about when Gertrude Stein tells us on Cezanne, Riba-Rovira, Matisse, Picasso, Juan Gris.

    Because why did she help Riba-Rovira ?
    Was she only fascinated by his art ?Was it a politic mistification and manipulation to make on his back a new vitginity for her...
    Because as she tells ,he was persecuted by the nazi .Certainly arrested after "sabotages" in coke working in St Etienne ,if he would not escape from Vannes in a transit camp where the ss wera from Holland he would be send to Mathausen as a red and republican spanish .
    But in all that when we saw in the Met the portrait of Gertrude Stein he did we can read in his way of painting a kind touch of something hieratic ,very straight ,as you must to be after beeing down .
    Running and running more to escape when you not even a diamond to have a glass of water .All his life fighting the faschism as you him with Picasso when they did the book to support coke miners in the Asturies who were on stricke in Spain at the same moment Franco killed Juan Grimao in the sixties ...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Perhaps you have something to tell about when Gertrude Stein tells us on Cezanne, Riba-Rovira, Matisse, Picasso, Juan Gris...

    Because why did she help Riba-Rovira ?

    Was she only fascinated by his art ?

    Was it a politic mistification and manipulation to make on his back a new vitginity for her...
    Because as she tells ,he was persecuted by the nazi .Certainly arrested after "sabotages" in coke working in St Etienne ,if he would not escape from Vannes in a transit camp where the ss wera from Holland he would be send to Mathausen as a red and republican spanish .
    But in all that when we saw in the Met the portrait of Gertrude Stein he did we can read in his way of painting a kind touch of something hieratic ,very straight ,as you must to be after beeing down .
    Running and running more to escape when you not even a diamond to have a glass of water .All his life fighting the faschism as you him with Picasso when they did the book to support coke miners in the Asturies who were on stricke in Spain at the same moment Franco killed Juan Grimao in the sixties ...

    ReplyDelete