|Portraits of Gertrude Stein by Picabia, Picasso, and Valleton|
Between 1908 and her death, in 1946, Gertrude Stein created over a hundred prose portraits, which she called “word paintings.” Most of her portraits were of her friends: Alice B. Toklas, Matisse, Picasso, Sherwood Anderson, Erik Satie, Hemingway, Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, Jane Heap, Carl Van Vechten, Virgil Thomson, Alfred Stieglitz, Francis Picabia, Guillaume Apollinaire, and others.
In some cases, she was returning the favor of a friend having made a portrait of her in another medium. Picasso’s Portrait of Gertrude Stein was followed by Stein’s “Pablo Picasso,” which appeared in a special issue of Camera Work, edited by Alfred Stieglitz. (The issue also featured Stein’s Henri Matisse and reproductions of works by Picasso and Matisse.) Stein would then write a prose portrait of Stieglitz, too.
There’s something precious and annoying about these artists’ mutual admiration, but also something admirably transactional—you do me, I’ll do you, and we’ll both benefit. This mutual portrait project reached a new level of absurdity in 1923, when Stein’s “A Portrait of Jo Davidson” was published in Vanity Fair. Stein’s piece was accompanied by three photos: a photo by Man Ray of Davidson working on his recently completed sculpture of Stein (a bronze casting based on Davidson’s model now sits in Bryant Park); a photo of Jacques Lipchitz’s 1920 bronze bust of Stein; and a photo of Picasso’s 1907 painting. ... [mehr] https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2018/05/14/125329/