Saturday, March 3, 2012

This Woman's History

I loved Woody Allen's, Midnight in Paris, but it was my joy at seeing Gertrude Stein's targeted nurturing of the artists and writers of Paris in the twenties that, as portrayed by Kathy Bates, stole the film.

It is a lovely  coincidence that from February 28 to June 3, 2012,the
Claribel Cone, Gertrude Stein, and Etta Cone.
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is showing, The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avante-Garde. The exhibit is described as "fragmented and contentious, with flashes of brilliance,"a phrase one could attach to Stein herself, whose writings and bold personality perhaps reflected in words and actions the cubist approach to art.

I am from Baltimore and in my teens regularly visited the collection of Gertrude Stein's friends, Claribel and Etta Cone, at the Baltimore Museum of Art. I would walk a mile from my house to the city bus stop and for a quarter ride uptown from Brooklyn to the Johns Hopkins campus where the museum is located. In the 70s, the entrance was through the grand doors of the original building, with the Cone Collection just to the left, off of the great hall. Stein and her circle of writers and painters figure prominently in this exhibit. I loved the way in which one of the Cone sister's rooms was recreated with what are now paintings worth millions of dollars, all hung side-by-side like family portraits. I can still feel the magic of walking through the gallery filled with Matisse, Picasso and Renoir.

In 1974, I read James R. Mellows, Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein and Company jealous of their gatherings on the Left Bank at 27, rue de Fleurus, so well depicted in Allen's film. It's a puzzle to me how I learned of these ladies as my post-war row house south of Baltimore had neither art or nor books, but I would definitely count them as early mentors, giving me a unique and independent view to the ways of the world. I admire them for collecting the work of and supporting artists who today are household names, but then were not yet known on the world stage. 

For Women's History Month, I want to acknowledge the role these women, who lived in my hometown, had early on in forming my sensibilities regarding art, travel and literature. They helped me develop a critical eye and to see, I think, that art, or life, need not be popular or classically beautiful, but passionate and honest.

1 comment:

  1. Dear ,

    It is a wonderfull exhibition .

    And what a pleasure to see the portrait of Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira .Beside Tchelitchew and Balthus .

    And also the Preface Gertrude Stein wrote for his first 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 ?

    But Gertrude Stein spoke also in this same document about Matisse and Juan Gris .And we learn Riba-Rovira went each week in Gertrude Stein's saloon rue Christine .
    With 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 .

    Both ,it is one of the last text where she gives her last art vision .As a light over that exhibition now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York .

    Coming from San Francisco "Seeing five stories" to Washington 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, Tall-Coat, Valloton .

    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 exhibition you can see in first place the mention of this portrait .And also other pictures Gertrude Stein bought him .

    And you have another place where you can see now Riba-Rovira's works it is an exhibition in Valencia in Spain "Homenage a Gertrude Stein" by Riba-Rovira in Galleria Muro ,if you like art ...