Portraits of Gertrude Stein an Term Paper

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250). At this point in his career, Picasso could represent Stein quite well. The style is neither abstract nor entirely avant-garde: it is reflective, slightly off-kilter, but encompassing of the subject and her character.

Picasso's portrait of Gertrude Stein, therefore, must be considered the better of the two, even if Rose's appears to be the more dynamic. Rose was an imitator, not exactly an orginal -- but then, could the same be said of Picasso? Both were feeding into the whirlwind that was modern art, constantly exploding and changing the dynamic of form and expression. Picasso's Stein, however, retains the dignity of the brush for a moment and is a thoughtful representation of a woman whose own influence over the art world was so great.

While, as Johnson says, Picasso's "distorted paintings of women are closely linked to the pleasure he got from hurting them, both physically and in other ways," (p. 256) none of that is depicted in his portrait of Stein. The painting is respectful to say the least, and showed what Picasso was capable of in terms of representative art work. There is no evidence that Picasso "ruled over" Stein -- quite the contrary, from the grandeur of her character in the portrait, one might assume that Stein, in fact, ruled over Picasso.

Allen's film makes the same point, showing Stein to be a figure of massive importance and of great insight -- dismissing Picasso's work when it dehumanized his women subjects, but admiring his genius and ability.
Apparently she wanted to do the same for her friend Francis Rose, too. All she did, however, was foist upon the public another artist whose background could introduce Catholics to the modern mania that was taking the art world down the road of no tradition. Such an action could be viewed as typical of Stein's attempt to be part of two camps -- the literary/artistic and the faithful and traditional Catholic. Rose's portrait (when considered in this light) can almost seem to have something of the religious icon about it: perhaps reaching back to the tradition of Byzantine art to and combining it with abstract modernism.


In either case, both artists attempt to represent their patron in the most favorable light: Picasso's is surprisingly the most representative -- which would have delighted Stein, for his other works of women are less so. Yet Rose's abstraction would also have delighted her, for she wanted nothing more than to be seen as one who "understood" art and could admire it in all its modernity, and still retain her religious and traditional roots at the same time.


"Art: Blossoming Career." Times. 1949. Web. 23 June 2011.

Greenberg, C. "Avant-Garde and Kitsch." Partisan Review. 6.5, 1939: 34-49.

Johnson, P. Creators.….....

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