A writer should write with his eyes and a painter paint with his ears
|Gertrude Stein, portrait by Picasso|
Born into a wealthy family in
, Gertrude Stein grew up in Pennsylvania . As an undergraduate she attended Oakland, California , now incorporated into Radcliffe College , and studied under psychologist William James. She spent much of 1899-1901 at Harvard University but did not earn her degree. Johns Hopkins University Medical School
Stein moved to
in 1902 and became an avid art collector. She turned her house into an informal salon. It soon became a hotspot for famous artists and writers - including Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Henri Matisse and Thornton Wilder. Hemingway viewed Stein as his mentor and Picasso became her close friend. Stein later called Paris a city of "The Lost Generation." Paris
In 1907, Stein met life partner Alice B. Toklas. Together during WWI, Toklas and Stein drove supplies to French hospitals. After the war, Stein received a medal for her contributions.
Stein wrote her first book, "Q.E.D.," in 1903, but did not publish a novel until "Three Lives" (1909), a work heavily influenced by former professor James and writer William Henry. Unique because of its similarity to the art form of cubism, Stein's writing delved into a literary area previously unexplored. "Tender Buttons," a short collection of feminist poems published in 1914, resembled Pablo Picasso's artwork, albeit in different form. In 1926, Stein explained the connection during lectures at the
and University of Oxford . She published her lectures as a book, "Composition and Explanation" (1926). Cambridge University
In 1932, "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas," a book that told Stein's life story, excited the American public. It was her first bestseller. Composers adapted several of her works, including Virgil Thomson's "Four Saints in Three Acts" and "The Mother of Us All."
Complex and progressive, Stein's writing transformed American literature and contributed to the feminist movement. A monument on the upper terrace of Bryant Park in
honors her memory. New York City