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The book is a collection of essays in which Stein reflects on her relationships with the two famous artists, as well as her own role in the development of modern art. The book offers a unique perspective on the lives and work of these important figures in the art world, and sheds light on the cultural milieu of Paris in the early 20th century.
The book is divided into three sections, each of which focuses on one of the three figures in the title. The first section, “Matisse,” offers a portrait of the artist and his work. Stein reflects on her close relationship with Matisse, whom she met in 1905, and offers insights into his artistic process and his influence on the development of modern art. She also offers her own analysis of his work, arguing that it is characterized by a sense of harmony and balance, and a rejection of traditional modes of representation.
The second section, “Picasso,” focuses on Stein’s relationship with the artist and his work. Stein offers a vivid portrait of Picasso, whom she describes as a complex and enigmatic figure. She reflects on the evolution of his style, from his early years as a struggling artist to his emergence as one of the most important figures in modern art. She also discusses the themes and motifs that characterize his work, including his interest in the human form and his experimentation with different media and techniques.
The final section, “Gertrude Stein,” is perhaps the most personal of the three. Stein reflects on her own role in the development of modern art, and offers insights into her own creative process. She discusses her love of language, and her belief that the artist’s task is to create new forms of expression that reflect the changing nature of the world.
Throughout the book, Stein offers a unique perspective on the cultural milieu of Paris in the early 20th century. She describes the intellectual and artistic community that she was a part of, and the ways in which it influenced the development of modern art. She also reflects on the social and political changes that were taking place at the time, including the rise of fascism in Europe and the growing threat of war.
One of the key themes of the book is the idea of artistic influence. Stein argues that artists are always in conversation with one another, and that their work is shaped by the ideas and styles of those who came before them. She describes the ways in which Matisse and Picasso influenced one another, and the ways in which she herself was influenced by both artists.
Overall, Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein is a fascinating exploration of the lives and work of three important figures in the art world. Stein’s essays offer a unique perspective on the cultural milieu of Paris in the early 20th century, and shed light on the development of modern art. The book is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of art and the role of artists in shaping the cultural landscape of their time.