The importance of Gertrude Stein as an art collector

Art dealers recognized Leo’s eye for genius, and Stein, with its popular Saturday night salons, became a staple of the Parisian. intelligentsia scene, while his friendship with Picasso became legendary. Stein’s salons were cultural meccas that attracted artists, art collectors, critics, fans, and many great names in “Lost Generation” literature, including Hemmingway and Fitzgerald.

She and Leo created a floor-to-ceiling gallery space (reminiscent of classic French art salons) complete with Renaissance furniture for their now famous collection. It included Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso and other future greats, until the artists’ growing popularity made their work too expensive for new purchases.

Things fractured when Stein’s life partner Alice B. Toklas moved in with them in 1910. Leo’s dislike of Toklas, combined with his differing artistic tastes – Leo was not a fan of Cubism and disliked his sister’s new Cubist literary style – caused a family feud. .

Leo moved in 1913, which necessitated the division of their collection. Leo took all their Renoirs and Renaissance furniture, while Stein got most of the Picassos. Overall, the division was fairly even, although they argued over a five-apple painting by Cézanne. Picasso painted Apple as a replacement gift for her friend; there is still a handwritten note on the back of the painting, “Souvenir for Gertrude and Alice. Picasso. Christmas 1914.”

Norma D. Ross