Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories

Jo Davidson (1883–1952), Terra-cotta, 1922–23, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Dr. Maury Leibovitz

October 14, 2011 – January 22, 2012
National Portrait Gallery
8th and G Streets, NW
Washington, DC
2nd Floor, North

More than 50 artifacts and 100 works by artists from across Europe and the U.S. are used to paint an in-depth portrait of Gertrude Stein (1874–1946), detailing her life and work as an artist, collector, and distinctive style-maker. The exhibition knits together her many identities: literary celebrity; life-long partner of Alice B. Toklas; arts networker whose famous friendships included some of the most prominent artists of her time (Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Hemingway); Jewish American expatriate; and muse to artists of several generations. Stein is considered by many to be an inventor of Modernism, whose reach across the arts was extraordinary. She wrote novels, poems, essays, literary and art theory, opera libretti, ballets, memoirs, and children's books and was also an arts networker, bringing creative people together in legendary salons and gatherings in her homes. Her originality as a thinker, along with her interdisciplinary approach to projects in dance, music, and theater, continues to inspire artists today. Co-organized by the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.