Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Steins Collect at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

With Jane in a cab going down Fifth Avenue
I went with my fourteen-year-old niece and godchild Jane up to the Metropolitan Museum on Sunday for a serious infusion of art. We saw the new American Wing (beautiful, don't miss it) and the new Galleries for Arab Lands (daunting and worth a visit) but the centerpiece of the trip was the current exhibition called The Steins Collect which is about the Stein siblings who were important collectors of modern art in Paris in the early part of the twentieth century.
The Steins – Leo, Michael and his wife Sarah, and Gertrude the writer who made an appearance in Woody Allen's movie Midnight in Paris – were Americans from Pittsburgh who lived in Paris and befriended unknown artists including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. They bought paintings inexpensively and amassed a spectacular collection of modern art which is now on view at the Met. The exhibit states that artists, writers and musicians convened at the Steins' Saturday salons. "By opening their houses and making art accessible the Steins did more to support art than any other collector or institution during the first decades of the twentieth century."
The art is colorful and ravishing, including Matisse's Portrait of a Woman from 1908

and his joyful Landscape at Collioure from 1905.

Here are the Steins at home – with Matisse seated in the center, and his paintings hung high on the wall. What a fantastic time to live in Paris.

Afterward Jane and I headed downtown and sat in Union Square for a bit while she had an ice cream cone. I said, "What was your favorite thing today?" She said, "The self portrait by Matisse."

Jane has a good eye.
I said one of my favorite things were the photographs that showed the Steins' homes. Here is a picture by Man Ray of Alice B. Toklas standing and Gertrude Stein seated in their apartment at 27, Rue de Fleuris from 1922. I love the art covering the walls and the simple heavy wooden furniture and the light coming through the interior windows.

What a wonderful way to live.


Sharron said...

"What a wonderful way to live."

I would have to agree!

cesera said...

Dear ,

It is a wonderfull exhibition,"The Steins Collect;Matisse,Picasso,Cezanne and the Parisian Avant Garde" .

And what a pleasure to see the portrait of Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira .Beside Tchelitchew and Balthus .
And you have an interesting article in Appollo London Revew about .And also in Artes Magazine from San Francisco where the exhibition was before .
And also the Preface Gertrude Stein wrote for his first exhibition in the Galerie Roquepine in Paris on 1945 .
Where we can read Gertrude Stein writing Riba-Rovira "will go farther than Cezanne...will succeed in where Picasso failed...I am fascinated " by Riba-Rovira Gertrude Stein tells us .

And you are you also fascinated indeed as Gertrude Stein ?

But Gertrude Stein spoke also in this same document about Matisse and Juan Gris .And we learn Riba-Rovira went each week in Gertrude Stein's saloon rue Christine .
With Edward Burns and Carl Van Vechten we can know Riba-Rovira did others portraits of Gertrude Stein .

But we do not know where they are ;and you do you know perhaps ?

With this wonderful portrait we do not forget it is the last time Gertrude Stein sat for an artist who is Riba-Rovira .

This exhibition presents us a world success with this last painting portrait before she died .

Both ,it is one of the last text where she gives her last art vision .As a light over that exhibition now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York .

Coming from San Francisco "Seeing five stories" to Washington and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York for our pleasure .

And the must is to see for the first time in the same place portraits by Picasso, Picabia, Riba-Rovira, Tall-Coat, Valloton .

You have the translate of Gertrude Stein's Riba-Rovira Preface on english Gertrude Stein's page on Wikipedia and in the catalog of this exhibition you can see in first place the mention of this portrait .And also other pictures Gertrude Stein bought him .

And you have another place where you can see now Riba-Rovira's works it is an exhibition in Valencia in Spain "Homenage a Gertrude Stein" by Riba-Rovira in Galleria Muro ,if you like art ...


Gail, northern California said...

What a lovely young lady, your god child. And how kind of you to take the time to make her feel so special.

helen tilston said...

And what a beautiful way to spend the day with your niece, Jane I love how you asked her favourite memory of the day. I am sure she will always remember this very special day with her uncle. She will also remember seeing these incredible painting.
Thanks for sharing

Helen xx

Anonymous said...

You're so dear, and Jane is one lovely young lady! And yes, to be in the company of Picasso..et al..oh my, it's mind boggling! So grateful we have their works of art to adore.