11 October 2023


  Zoom lecture

Montmartre 3

Gertrude Stein & Pablo Picasso

The Invention of Language


A lecture based on the exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg

(13 Sep. 2023 to 28 Jan. 2024)


The third lecture in our new Wednesday series

with Anne Catherine Abecassis

She was Jewish, American, well-to-do, homosexual and an experimental writer; he was Spanish, a jealous womanizer, ambitious, an immensely talented artist, but penniless. Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso had nothing in common, yet from the time they met, felt a mutual bond and acquired a deep respect for each other's work.


Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) moved to Paris in 1903, shortly after Picasso’s first trip to the city, to view the 1900 Universal Exhibition. Like so many other young artists, Picasso settled in Montmartre and built his first circle of friends and conspirators there.


Stein’s and Picasso’s status as foreigners in France and outsiders in the literary and artistic worlds, made them key members of cosmopolitan Parisian Bohemia and emphasized their artistic freedom. Their friendship crystallized around their respective works and Stein’s collection of Picasso’s art, the most important of its time. They laid the foundations for experimentation, analysis and fragmentation in the painted image and in language, leading to the birth of Cubism in art and 20th century modern literature.


Our lecture will tell the story of an extraordinary friendship between these two 20th-century icons, with a focus on their encounter in the early, heroic years in Montmartre.

Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, 1906, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, 1906, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art

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