At the beginning of the 20th century, every Saturday evening in Gertrude Stein’s pavilion, everything that had the reputation of the Parisian art scene gathered. Those who made a pilgrimage to number 27 rue de Fleurus wanted to marvel at the decorated apartment of Cézanne, Renoir, Gauguin and Matisse and chat with the famous Salonière. Many visitors …
At the beginning of the 20th century, every Saturday evening in Gertrude Stein’s pavilion, everything that had the reputation of the Parisian art scene gathered. Those who made a pilgrimage to number 27 rue de Fleurus wanted to marvel at the decorated apartment of Cézanne, Renoir, Gauguin and Matisse and chat with the famous Salonière. For many visitors, however, it wasn’t just intellectual conviviality: the rich and filthy American used to pamper her guests with a sumptuous meal, and this news spread to bohemianism, where many poets or poor painters had to turn every penny twice. at lightning speed. Stone parties have so often been the target of scoffers. Claire Goll caricatured the hostess as “a monstrous woman with the cut of a man and the face of a mover”. And William H. Gass saw in her an “eccentric, dilettante and talkative, crazy, patroness, mentor, crook and abnormal”, in short the “lead goose of Montparnasse”.
Because of her ticks, she is passed as a model in avant-garde circles: Picasso’s portrait of her is gaining popularity. Sculptors were also interested in their massive form. Under the hands of Jacques Lipchitz, her body transformed into a cubist bust, with Jo Davidson in a busty statue. Photographer Man Ray captured his likeness in snapshots.
But Stein was more than a unique piece with quirks and tunes. Hemingway admiringly called the author the “grandmother of modern literature.” But at the latest when the impressive lady claimed that she alone had made the novelist what he was, the close friendship died out: from that point on, the two fought with sharp words in a kind of love-hate relationship. The lady who immigrated to France from the United States had better luck with adoring Thornton Wilder, Francis Scott Fitzgerald and Sherwood Anderson. To these representatives of the “lost generation”, Gertrude Stein was not only the understanding patron, but also an aesthetic guiding star of the highest quality.
Most contemporaries, however, valued themselves more than their work. Many critics have said that his style, which was based on ignorance of all grammar, resulted from a lack of fluency in the language. Stein suffered greatly from the fact that their prose texts and volumes of poetry did not receive the expected respect. To provoke opponents, she brazenly compares herself to Marcel Proust or James Joyce. But despite these public relations maneuvers, publishers struggled to get their work printed. When she died of stomach cancer in 1946, she left behind many unpublished writings, and her heirs did not argue about it, but only about her multi-million dollar collection of paintings.