See those flowers around him? I wonder what’s in that pipe…
Boy With a Pipe (Picasso, 1905) sold for $104,200,000 in May, 2004.
I greatly admire the courage and taste of Gertrude Stein in the visual arts but she seems to have had a much greater facility as an impressario of art than she had as a writer. A sad but honest part of me thinks Gertrude was not so much a writer but a dilettante, a poser. Great writers reveal what is in them… and in you. Gertrude did not do this. Having familiarized myself with her work, I fear I must agree with James Thurber who said,
“Anyone who reads at all diversely during these bizarre 1920s cannot escape the conclusion that a number of crazy men and women are writing stuff which remarkably passes for important composition among certain persons who should know better. Stuart P. Sherman, however, refused to be numbered among those who stand in awe and admiration of one of the most eminent of the idiots, Gertrude Stein. He reviews her Geography and Plays in the August 11 issue of the Literary Review of the New York Evening Post and arrives at the conviction that it is a marvellous and painstaking achievement in setting down approximately 80,000 words which mean nothing at all.”
BELOW: Gertrude Stein reads her poem, If I Had Told Him a Completed Portrait of Picasso. It’s only 3 and 1/2 minutes, but I’ll bet you can’t listen all the way to the end. Maybe I’m wrong. You be the judge.