May 22nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

In my children’s book Gertrude and Alice and Fritz and Tom, which I hope will soon reach the bookstores of the various museums where the Stein exhibitions are being held, the two young boys who visit rue de Fleurus encounter the atelier’s floor-to-ceiling paintings for the first time:

“Look at this really rambling room!” whispered Tom.  “There are masterful modern paintings floor to ceiling!  It looks like a museum!  I hate museums, everything in a museum is musty and moldy.”

Fritz pressed his nose against one of the paintings.  “This person has four flaming eyes and three thick ears and is not musty and moldy!”


Tom Hachtman's Fritz and Tom

I can assure you that there is also nothing musty or moldy at  The Steins Collect exhibition which opened last week at SFMOMA !

In the 25+ years that I’ve been obsessed with GertrudeandAlice I have had moments more extraordinary than the proverbial “aha!”  moments. I  would have to say that they are  more like  “ah Stein!” moments!

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GertrudeandAlice: Out Of The Closet and On To The Fêtes

May 15th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Last week I attended the two openings for the Seeing Gertrude Stein exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco and this week will attend the opening celebration at SFMOMA’s The Steins Collect (see the previous post for all the details on the shows.)

Seeing Gertrude Stein is a must-see, not only for GertrudeandAlice fans, but also for anyone who wants to get to know them better. As is usually the case at openings, the crowds were too dense to really see the exhibition (600 people had RSVP’d for the 2nd opening), so in the next few weeks I’ll be going back from time to time to get a better look.

During the openings I selected two favorite pieces and I’m sure that on future visits additional items will be joining this list. One of the pieces is a small, framed,  poodle made by Picasso out of what looks like either cotton balls or actual bolls of raw cotton. The small figure was to be a “companion” for GertrudeandAlice’s poodle, Basket. The other is a small passport photo of Alice from 1907, the year she traveled to Paris and met Gertrude.  I had never seen the photo before.  In it Alice is wearing a jaunty black hat proofing once again that Alice really was a “hat person!”

And that brings me to GertrudeandAlice and fashion,  One of the themes of the exhibition centers on their sense of sartorial style. Alice was more interested in the fashions of the day than Gertrude, but Gertrude knew how she wanted to present herself when it came to her dress and she did.  Once Alice entered her world, she assumed the role of Gertrude’s stylist and many of the photographs in the exhibition show Alice’s touches as a member of the “Fashion Police!”

Dressed for literary success, photo by Cecil Beaton (London, 1936)

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SoS: This is the Dawning of the Summer of Steins!

May 6th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

“When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars…”

Now you’re saying “He really has had too much of Alice’s special treat !” But no, really,  Summer 2011 in San Francisco is the Summer of Steins – I’ll bet my fringed suede vest and bell-bottomed jeans with the floral-fabric inserts at the bottom that it’s a fact!

The exhibition Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories will be at The Contemporary Jewish Museum from  May 12 – September 6, while The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde will be at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from May 21 – September 6.

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