Wouldn't it be nice to receive a French handwritten postcard...
With an original Henri Matisse drawing on the back?
The Steins Collect opened at the Met last week. It's a don't-miss exhibit.
If you're crazy for art/Paris/expat lit/old photos you'll love it.
A woman looking very Gertrude Stein-esque.
The Stein siblings—Gertrude, Leo, Michael (and his wife Sarah)—were important patrons of modern art in Paris during the first years of the 20th century. This American family collected hundreds of artworks by a group of relatively unknown artists with whom they became close friends.The Steins opened their apartments on Saturday evenings to anyone (just like in Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris) who arrived with a reference in hand. At these salons, scores of international artists, collectors, and dealers passed through their doors in order to see and discuss the latest artistic developments, long before they were on view in museums. This threesome easily fit the classic sib setup in my opinion. Eldest Michael Stein handled the finances and kept them all afloat in their collecting endeavors. Middle son, Leo dropped out of school and wondered Europe - he was first to start buying art. And youngest sib, Gertrude Stein was certainly wild and independent.
This is a big show. The Stein's varied collections are astonishing. Many paintings will be familiar like Picasso's 'blue period' figure.
Or Cezanne's portrait of his son.
Many you'll see for the 1st time like this Cezanne still life.
A Matisse sketch of his daughter Marguerite reading.
One of Leo Stein's first purchases (since there's a dog in it, ahem, I had to show it) - by Raoul du Gardier acquired 1903.
Matisse's painting, 'Tea', 1919. The samovar on the table once belonged to Sarah. She traded it to the artist for a drawing. There are amusing stories behind every painting on display. The Steins only bought from artists they knew personally.
It was not uncommon for Leo to have lunch with Matisse and dinner with Picasso in a single day. Both artists sent the Steins sketches and reports of their works in progress.
I was enthralled with wall-sized photos of family gatherings...
Gertrude and Alice at 26, rue de Fleurus.
Walls covered floor-to-ceiling in treasures.
The accompanying audio tape is full of historic family anecdotes and Gertrude reading her criptic poems.
The Met gift shop had me drooling over this Bistro de Paris dinnerware set plus other Paris nonsense - Eiffel Tower dish towels, wine waiter aprons, Gertrude's scarves, mon dieu!
They have loads of timely reading. I was pleased to see David Downie's Paris, Paris - my current addiction on the Kindle - making it so easy to access Paris while still in NYC.
The Steins Collect is on view till June 3rd 2012 at the Met, so do try to visit. This post is just the tip of a fabulous iceberg.