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Sculptor Jo Davidson created a bust of the American writer Gertrude Stein in 1923 that is now in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Bryant Park bust is a cast made in 1991 from the original. One of the most influential writers of the 20th century Gertrude Stein is also credited with coining the term, The Lost Generation.
Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) was a noted American art collector of seminal modernist paintings and an experimental writer of novels, poetry and plays, which eschewed the narrative, linear, and temporal conventions of 19th century literature. She was born in West Allegheny (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, raised in Oakland, California, and moved to Paris in 1903, making France her home for the remainder of her life. For some forty years, the Stein home on the Left Bank of Paris would become a renowned Saturday evening gathering place for expatriate American artists and writers, and others noteworthy in the world of vanguard arts and letters. Entrée and membership in the Stein salon was a sought-after validation, signifying that Stein had recognized a talent worthy of inclusion into a rarefied group of gifted artists. Stein became combination mentor, critic, and guru to those who gathered around her. A self-defined "genius", she was described as an imposing figure with a commanding manner whose inordinate self-confidence could intimidate. Among her coterie she was referred to as “Le Stein” and with less laudatory deference as “The Presence.”
In 1933, Stein published the memoirs of her Paris years titled The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which became a literary bestseller. The advent of this book elevated Stein from the relative obscurity of cult literary figure, into the light of mainstream attention.
February 17th, 2013
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