Parisian Avant-Garde


This past Saturday, I went with a friend to check out the Steins Collect, a beautiful exhibition on the works of Picasso, Matisse and other artists working in Paris during the beginning of the 20th century. The goal of the show was to highlight the influence that the Steins’ (particularly Gertrude Stein) had on the lives of the artists and how their work was viewed. It was especially fascinating to me – living in the present – that the works of these great men were once enjoyed only in private salons, long before they were accepted at traditional museums.

Now considered valuable masterpieces, paintings such as Woman with a Hat by Henri Matisse, were once condemned by art critics with comments such as “A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public!”

I would happily travel back in time and bring this point of paint back with me.

Especially thrilling were the rooms that showed photographs of the Steins’ actual apartments and Saturday salons. I loved Midnight in Paris, which featured Gertrude Stein (played by Kathy Bates) in several scenes. The Stein apartment was the place to be, according to the movie. After seeing this exhibition, I have no doubt that it was. Just imagine that one apartment in Paris was the place to see one of the greatest art collections in the world….

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