Monday, July 29, 2013

The Stein Salon~ 27, rue de Fleurus

This weekend (July 27) marked the date of the passing of Gertrude Stein in 1946. 
And it was here at 27, rue de Fleurus near the Luxembourg Gardens
that she lived with her brother, Leo, who was the impetus behind their shared collection of art
from some of the best 20th century painters. 

As a very young woman,
Stein had attended the Saturday night salons of Baltimore's Cone sisters, Claribel and Etta,
wealthy socialites and collectors of modern French art,  
and here at 27 rue de Fleurus, where she and her brother lived together 
from 1903 to 1914, Stein began her own literary salon.

On Saturday nights here in Paris,
one could expect to see the paintings of
 Bonnard, Picasso, Cezanne, Renoir, Matisse and Toulouse-Lautrec among others. 

As well, one could hold conversation with regulars like
Picasso, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Lewis, Joyce, Pound, Wilder and Matisse. 

Alice B. Toklas moved in and became Gertrude's lifelong partner in 1910.
She also became the hostess for Gertrude's literary salons,
keeping the women guests in the kitchen 
because Gertrude refused to have them in the same room with the men, 
where she spent her time. 

 While Leo was the more discerning art critic and buyer
(though it's said that Gertrude later took credit),
Henry McBride, Art Critic of the New York Sun, was quoted as saying that Gertrude
"collected geniuses rather than masterpieces. She recognized them a long way off." 

Unfortunately, when Leo and Gertrude decided to part company
in terms of their co-habitation,
that included their contact with each other. 
When Leo left in 1914 and they split their collection, 
they did not see each other again for 30 years, 
and then briefly meeting accidentally on the street. 
They never spoke again.

As always when I decide on a post topic
(often according to my Paris photo collection),
I learn something new about my subject. 

Among the many comments about Gertrude Stein's writing
(her brother called it 'an abomination'),
some deem her inept in her ability
while others consider her apparent inability to communicate a deficiency
"to deal effectively with language, so that she made her greatest weakness
into her most remarkable strength."

What higher praise for an artist!?

For more American Writers in Paris Tour posts,
Click Here, Here,  and Here

(Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen) 
Info details thanks to Wiki


  1. Hi, Kirsten,

    What a fun and fascinating post. Your photos are terrific and I learned something! Never knew about Alice keeping the women in the kitchen! I do so enjoy your blog!

    And thanks for coming by Marmelade Gypsy. Paris in July may be winding down, but I suspect there will be more Paris posts before next year, so check in now and then!

  2. She was SO way ahead of her time and punctured through the page like Picasso splattered paint on his canvas; she set out to prove a point, and that she did. THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX!

    Bonjour Kirsten my dear! HOW ARE YOU? So good to see you and I wish you a fond BONJOUR for the day! This is a super post and an inspiration for me, as I too needed to hear what you have to share. Thanks for visiting! Anita

  3. I just love all of your Parisian updates Kirsten! I hope you have a fabulous week ahead!
    xo, Nathalie


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