The Self Portraits Of Gertrude Stein And Essay

Pablo Picaso Essay, Research Paper

The Self-Portraits of Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso

It is no admiration that Picasso, with his radical manner of picture, would be attracted to Gertrude Stein s crowded Rue de Fleurus flat on Saturday eventides for rational treatments on art and literature. From the barefoot dances and improvisational dramas of Max Jacob to the remarks of critics and manque art frequenters like Maurice Raynal and Andr Salmon, this salon was an mixture of creative persons, Gypsies, professionals, and aliens ( Myers 18 ; Olivier 139 ) . The beginnings of a fantastic relationship sparked betwixt the words of antipathy and congratulations that filled the halls of the Steins excessive place.

Picasso proved to be instead opinionated, passing the greater portion of his visits to the Steins abode sulking in the corner. He found trouble in explicating his far-fetched sentiments and places, particularly in Gallic ; in fact, he felt they needed no account. Frequent explication of his positions, assorted with Matisse s inspired advocation of his ain manner of picture, failed to entertain Picasso, and therefore most viewed him as a instead disagreeable character. Still Picasso returned each Saturday to sit aloof and detect the conversation of Paris elect intellectuals. It was non until Picasso began his portrayal of Gertrude Stein that their relationship began to boom.

Over 90 posings brought Stein to Bateau Lavoir to be Picasso s foremost live theoretical account in old ages. Rodenbeck in her essay entitled Insistent Presence in Picasso s Portrait of Gertrude Stein observed that,

Stein was upper in-between category, a trained scientist, a non-practicing Jew, a sapphic, over-educated, American and, in 1905, shy with tonic Gallic ; Picasso, by contrast, was Bohemian, a nonchurchgoing but extremely superstitious Catholic, smartly heterosexual, self-cultivation, and a Spaniard with tonic Gallic. But their attractive force was immediate. ( 4 )

Hobhouse writes, Both were direct, a small rough with company, greedy, childish in their enthusiasms and petulant in their disfavors. . . . And both, at the clip, were get downing to be convinced they were masterminds ( 68 ) . They experienced the same events and people in Paris prior to and during the Cubist motion, a common exposure that developed them in the same way artistically ( Myers 37 ) . Picasso demonstrated the dislocation of art and picture into its simplest signifier ; Stein did the same with linguistic communication. As their relationship developed, Picasso and Stein began holding a enormous influence on each other s plants, although Myers noted that finally Stein was more influenced by Picasso s work than frailty versa since he was unable to read English, her chief linguistic communication of look ( 37 ) .

The degree of familiarity that was achieved by Picasso and Stein goes deeper than the Saturday eventide soir Es, though. Stein was to the universe of literature what Picasso was to the universe of art. They shared the same vision for their several agencies of artistic look and excelled at presenting the universe to a new, more free manner of relaying its thoughts. Stein shared in Picasso s battle non to show what he could see but non to show the things he did non see, that is to state the things everybody is certain of seeing but which they do non truly see ( Stein 19 ) . So finally, in portraying Picasso, Gertrude Stein managed to uncover herself to her readers. . . . [ It ] must ne’er be forgotten that the lone manner Picasso has of speech production, the lone manner Picasso has of authorship is with drawings and pictures ( Stein 38 ) .

Stein, in her book Picasso, repeatedly reminds the reader of the similarities between Spaniards and Americans. She writes, . . . Spaniards and Americans. . . have something in common, that is they do non necessitate faith or mysticism non to believe in world as all the universe knows it, non even when they see it. In fact, world for them is non existent and that is why there are skyscrapers and American literature and Spanish picture and literature ( 18 ) . This absolutely sets the phase for her dual characteristic. In her descriptions of his cubist motion, Stein describes her forging of a new manner of authorship ; in her accounts of his simple forms and figures, Stein reveals her relaxed, stream-of-consciousness manner. Now her brave efforts at construing Picasso s behaviour are non so audacious at all, for she is depicting herself every bit good ; she and Picasso are the same. Stein is able to grok Picasso s motive in picture, . . . he is a adult male who ever has a demand of emptying himself, of wholly emptying himself, it is necessary that he should be greatly stimulated so that he could be active adequate to empty himself wholly. This is the manner he lived his life ( 5 ) . She sees through his eyes, she thinks with his ideas ; they are one.

Stein even warns her reader of the contemplations found within her book. She writes on the first pages of her life,

The painter does non gestate himself as bing in himself, he conceives himself as a contemplation of the objects he has put into his images and he lives in the contemplations of his images, a author, a serious author, conceives himself as bing by and in himself, he does non at all live in the contemplation of his books, to w

rite he must first of all exist in himself, but for a painter to be able to paint, the picture must first of all be done, therefore the self-importance of a painter is non at all the self-importance of a author, and this is why Picasso who was a adult male who merely expressed himself in painting had merely authors as friends. ( 4 )

Here, the reader is told precisely how Stein views herself. The common definition of a author being a individual who writes is null. To herself, Stein is non a author at all ; she is a painter. Though she does compose, she is an creative person who paints pictures a painter. Therefore, she conceives herself as a contemplation of her Hagiographas. This is how Stein is able to stand out in making an autobiographical life.

Picasso was instead make bolding in his determination to paint Stein s portrayal in her absence, even after 90 posings with her. He told her, I can t see you any longer when I look, and left after painting out a caput that was shortly replaced with the mask-like countenance of the finished portrayal. And even after such difficult work as Picasso put into his portrayal, many frequently commented that the portrayal did non remotely resemble Stein. Bing that Picasso is a painter, Picasso s portrayal of Gertrude Stein is truly a contemplation of himself.

In his portrayal, Picasso gave Stein

a unusual, mask-like face, with outstanding eyes, a aggressively angled nose, a consecutive, sturdy oral cavity. The portrayal became a arresting transitional work, lingering at the terminal of his Rose period of harlequins and circus topics. With its brown and somber colouring, its tawny intimations of rose in the flesh colourss and in the background, the picture resembled the fall of that manner. ( Mellow 93 )

When approached in a actual sense, it is non hard to happen a resemblance between the mask-like visage in the portrayal and Picasso s ain face. The face in the portrayal is strikingly masculine in its characteristics, yet with utmost softness. Picasso s ain oral cavity and olfactory organ are about indistinguishable to the brace in his portrayal. They portion the same pregnant chad in the upper lip and smile feelings. The hair and ears are shaped instead likewise and their physique is of the same size.

With cubism, the demand for bordering becomes disused. In Picasso, Stein writes, . . . the framing of life, the demand that a image exist in its frame, remain in its frame was over. A image staying in its frame was a thing that ever had existed and now pictures commenced to desire to go forth their frames and this besides created the necessity for cubism ( 12 ) . Picasso gives his capable her ain frame of mention, instead than restricting her being to what can be seen consecutive in front. Therefore, she is no longer a topic simply to be looked at, but another life animal, with ideas that are apparent. There is a universe outside the four borders of the canvas, and her regard proves this. The position of the image besides reflects Picasso s manner of seeing things. Stein writes, The things that Picasso could see were the things which had their ain world, world non of things seen but of things that exist ( 19 ) . In the portrayal, Stein stares off at some cryptic sight, either fantastic or horrifying, non into the eyes of the spectator. With this, Picasso creates a world for his topic of things that exist outside the frame of the portrayal. The message is found non in what is seen, but in the world of the unobserved.

Stein s message for the reader about Picasso and, in bend, about herself is that

. . . Picasso was the lone 1 in picture who saw the 20th century with his eyes and saw its world and accordingly his battle was terrorizing, terrorizing for himself and for the others, because he had nil to assist him, the yesteryear did non assist him, nor the present, he had to make it all entirely and, as in malice of much strength he is frequently really weak, he consoled himself and allowed himself to be about seduced by other things which led him more or less astray. ( 22 )

Picasso and Stein were pledged to dig the new skylines of art and literature. They were revolutionising the art of look. Knowing non what to anticipate, they forged on entirely into the hereafter of artistic look. They were able to reflect themselves in their work and portray the world in the things that exist, non merely the things that can be seen. Yet the most singular facet of this reformation is that they approached such a complex and wide manner of thought in the most simplistic of manners. They were able to get the better of the detering unfavorable judgments of their sceptics to make what is considered among the most cherished of all motions in art.

Plants Cited

Hobhouse, Janet. Everybody Who Was Anybody: A Biography of Gertrude Stein. New York: G. P. Putnam Sons, 1975.

Mellow, James R. Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein and Co. New York and Washington: Praeger Publishers, 1974.

Myers, Marjorie R. Gertrude Stein: The Cubist Years. Diss. Tulane U, 1979.

Olivier, Fernande. Picasso and His Friends. Trans. Jane Miller. New York: Appleton-Century, 1965.

Rodenbeck, Judith. Insistent Presence in Picasso s Portrait of Gertrude Stein. Columbia U. Fall 1993. 20 Sep. 1998

Stein, Gertrude. Picasso. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. , 1984