She was often the subject of painted and photographic portraits, and Gertrude Stein returned the favor, writing word portraits of some of the illustrious friends and artists who frequented her pre-World War I Paris salons, including Alice B. Toklas, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse. In her writing and in her life, Stein broke the mold. She set aside conventions of representation with her daring wordplays, inventing a radically experimental literary style.
This evening, Linda Voris discusses Stein’s writing and explores the parallels between her literary innovations and visual counterparts in the work of modern artists such as Cezanne and Picasso. She also considers Stein’s continuing influence on contemporary experimental writers.
Voris is a Stein scholar and assistant professor of literature at American University.
The National Portrait Gallery exhibition Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories contains artworks and objects depicting the life and love of the famous writer and art collector. It’s on view until Jan. 22, 2012.