Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874)

Here she is, larger than life, painted by Picasso. Gertrude Stein was a model secular Jewish woman of her time: and it's interesting to have a model so early. She practiced no religion, but seemed to have no hangups about who she was or what her background was. She was also a model of an avant-garde lifestyle in Paris in the early 20th century.

Stein almost became a medical doctor, worked with William James, dropped out of that plan, joined her brother in Paris, learned to appreciate modern art before it was trendy, collected paintings, collected artist friends, collected writer friends, and influenced Hemingway (most famously). Her writing was never understood or successful until she wrote The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, and then she was a sensation. I like her for every one of those things.

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