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The Self-Portraits of Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso It is no wonder that Picasso with his revolutionary style of painting would be attracted to Gertrude Steins crowded Rue de Fleurus apartment on Saturday evenings for intellectual discussions on art and literature From the barefoot dances and improvisational plays of Max Jacob to the comments of critics and would-be art patrons like Maurice Raynal and Andr Salmon this salon was an assortment of artists bohemians professionals and foreigners Myers 18 Olivier 139 The beginnings of a marvelous relationship sparked betwixt the words of aversion and praise that filled the halls of the Steins extravagant home Picasso proved to be rather opinionated spending the greater part of his visits to the Steins residence sulking in the corner He found difficulty in explaining his far-fetched opinions and positions especially in French in fact he felt they needed no explanation Frequent explication of his views mixed with Matisses inspired advocation of his own way of painting failed to entertain Picasso and thus most viewed him as a rather disagreeable character Still Picasso returned each Saturday to sit aloof and observe the conversation of Paris elite intellectuals It was not until Picasso began his portrait of Gertrude Stein that their relationship began to flourish Over ninety sittings brought Stein to Bateau Lavoir to be Picassos first live model in years Rodenbeck in her essay entitled Insistent Presence in Picassos Portrait of Gertrude Stein observed that Stein was upper middle class a trained scientist a non-practicing Jew a lesbian over-educated American and in 1905 shy with accented French Picasso by contrast was bohemian a lapsed but highly superstitious Catholic vigorously heterosexual self-education and a Spaniard with accented French But their attraction was immediate 4 Hobhouse writes Both were direct a little rough with company greedy childish in their enthusiasms and petulant in their dislikes And both at the time were beginning to be
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