Gertrude Stein (1)

In undertaking research recently on attitudes to Picasso in the first half of the twentieth century (due to appear shortly in the art supplement of Vanity Fair), I was struck by how many American collectors, including Albert Barnes, formed their tastes during visits to Leo and Gertrude Stein’s apartment in Paris before the first world war, at a time when Picasso’s work was scarcely known in London.   I remembered that Janet Malcolm had written a book about the long relationship between Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein and bought a copy of Two Lives in McNally Jackson, the bookshop in Prince Street.   It tells one almost nothing about her pioneering interest in Picasso, other than the fact that he was almost the only person she regarded as a fellow genius and that he found it almost impossible to paint her;  but a great deal about her ghastliness, self-obsession and Vichy friends.

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3 thoughts on “Gertrude Stein (1)

  1. I think I’m right in saying that Jim Ede, when he worked for the Tate, got to know and made friends with Picasso. But Rothenstein refused to buy him, as he did Matisse when Matisse offered Jim Ede THE RED ROOM for about 800 pounds.

    Brilliant though Rothenstein was in many ways the gaping holes in Tate Modern’s collections are his legacy to the Tate.

  2. Edward Chaney says:

    Is Mark not being a bit (conventionally?) unfair on poor old Rothenstein? Apart from anything else he organized the first great British blockbuster show devoted to Picasso in 1960. In terms of acquisition, Picasso was already v expensive when Rothenstein became director of this perennially underfunded institution… On the other hand when Serota took on the directorship he was praised for a new hang which starred many pictures he would not have been able to hang had it not been for Rothenstein’s enterprise in acquiring so many of the great stars of 20th-century British art. Following the example of his parents he also so painstakingly documented their lives that he surely merited the title ‘The Vasari of British art’. I’ve revisited this topic in an article in the latest (2016) issue of The Journal of Wyndham Lewis Studies (no doubt on sale in every good bookshop)…

    • Jim Ede left the Tate to live in Morocco in 1936, so his criticism would presumably have been of James Manson who was Rothenstein’s predecessor as Director and was indeed hostile to the Post-Impressionists. Charles

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