For more than a generation, Gertrude Stein’s Paris home at 27 rue de Fleurus was the center of a glittering coterie of artists and writers, one of whom was Pablo Picasso. In this intimate and revealing memoir, Stein tells us much about the great man (and herself) and offers many insights into the life and art of the 20th century’s greatest painter.
Mixing biological fact with artistic and aesthetic comments, she limns a unique portrait of Picasso as a founder of Cubism, an intimate of Appollinaire, Max Jacob, Braque, Derain, and others, and a genius driven by a ceaseless quest to convey his vision of the 20th century. We learn, for example, of the importance of his native Spain in shaping Picasso’s approach to art; of the influence of calligraphy and African sculpture; of his profound struggle to remain true to his own vision; of the overriding need to empty himself of the forms and ideas that welled up within him.
Stein’s close relationship with Picasso furnishes her with a unique vantage point in composing this perceptive and provocative reminiscence. It will delight any admirer of Picasso or Gertrude Stein; it is indispensable to an understanding of modern art.