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Picasso by Gertrude Stein

Picasso (1938)

by Gertrude Stein

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I don't love Gertrude Stein, but this little book at least accomplishes what any book on an artist or writer should do: deepen your appreciation of and heighten your interest in the subject. The account of Picasso's life is unabashedly personal, and the main source of "information" is Stein's own relationship with Picasso, and her own judgements of his work and its meaning.

The generalizations about European nations, the repeated claims that "it was only natural for Picasso to do X" because he was he was a Spaniard, the somewhat dismissive attitude towards other artists of the period--if you can just let this wash over you, take them as simply idiosyncratic musings, an offering of a perspective, then they will be, if not charming, at least tolerable. At any rate, I imagine these things are what make some people find Stein charming. The claim that, e.g., the 17th century had less reason than the 16th, and was therefore more splendid just strikes me as lazy and uninteresting. But anyway back to Stein on Picasso.

She writes early in the book that for Picasso, faces were as old as the world. Elsewhere she relates an overheard conversation in which a woman suggests she finds portraits more interesting than still lifes because she knows what fruits and plants are, but doesn't know what humans are. Episodes like these make the book more than worth the short amount of time it takes to read it. ( )
  lukeasrodgers | Jan 3, 2013 |
Read this brief about 50-page monograph and read Hemingway's Moveable Feast and his description of Miss Stein. Two completely separate and very different works: a portrait of G. S. as seen by E. H. in the twenties in Paris.
  zoranaercegovac | Feb 2, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gertrude Steinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burns, Edwardsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Painting in the nineteenth century was only done in France and by Frenchmen, apart from that, painting did not exist, in the twentieth century it was done in France but by Spaniards.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486247155, Paperback)

Intimate, revealing memoir of Picasso as man and artist by influential literary figure. Highly readable amalgam of biographical fact, artistic and aesthetic comments: Picasso as founder of Cubism, associate of Apollinaire, Braque, Derain, other notables; titanic, creative spirit. One of Stein's most accessible works. 61 black-and-white illustrations. Index.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:21 -0400)

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