Javier Pes, the now former editor of Art Newspaper, has reminded me that there was an exhibition held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art called The Steins Collect which tells one everything one wants to know about Gertrude’s collection of Picassos: how Leo arrived in Paris in December 1902, rented an apartment at 27 rue de Fleurus and embarked on art classes at the Académie Julian; Gertrude, described by Mary Berenson as ‘a fat, un-wieldy person, the color of mahogany..but with a grand, monumental head, plenty of brains & immense geniality’ came the following autumn; they acquired their first works by Picasso, The Acrobat Family and Girl with a Basket of Flowers, in 1905; Picasso was ‘so attracted by Mlle Stein’s physical presence that he suggested he should paint her portrait’. From 1906, they held a Saturday evening salon which is where so many Americans first encountered the work of Picasso and Matisse. Roger Fry and Duncan Grant visited in 1909, Clive and Vanessa Bell in 1914. ‘Some came to mock and remained to pray’.
This is what they looked like in 1907:-
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