SFMOMA — The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde

sean-martinfield-2-2.jpg
Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

The Steins are responsible in many ways for the turn-of-the century revolution in the visual arts through their adventurous patronage, deep ties to leading minds of the era, and legendary Paris salon gatherings. As powerful tastemakers, they had a commitment to the new, a confidence in their inclinations, and a drive to build appreciation for the work they loved. From the moment they first dared to admire Matisse’s scandalous Woman with a Hat (1905), the “nasty smear of paint” (that gave the fauves their name) the foursome were staking claims for modern art that would heavily influence their peers and transform the careers of several of the most important artists of the century.

The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde reunites the unparalleled modern art collections of author Gertrude Stein, her brothers Leo and Michael Stein, and Michael’s wife, Sarah Stein. Jointly organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art ( SFMOMA ), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux-Grand Palais, Paris, this major touring exhibition gathers approximately 200 iconic paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, and illustrated books not only by Matisse and Picasso, who are each represented by dozens of works, but also by Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Juan Gris, Marie Laurencin, Henri Manguin, Francis Picabia, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Félix Vallotton, among others. The Steins Collect remains at SFMOMA through September 6th, 2011 before traveling to Paris and then New York. 

gertrude-stein-1905-61
Pablo Picasso. Gertrude Stein (1905-6)
Oil on canvas 39 3/8 in. x 32 in.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, bequest of Gertrude Stein, 1946

Supplemented by a rich array of archival materials—including photographs, family albums, film clips, correspondence, and ephemera—the exhibition provides a new perspective on the artistic foresight of this innovative family, tracing their enduring impact on art-making and collecting practices and their inestimable role in creating a new international standard of taste for modern art.

Sarah and Michael Stein’s return to San Francisco with a cache of important Matisse works in 1935, the same year SFMOMA was founded, was particularly instrumental in the advocacy of modern art on the West Coast as well as the making of the museum’s early collection; SFMOMA’s presentation will underscore the Steins’ deep connections to the Bay Area.

“The Stein family legacy is proof that individual collectors make a huge impact on art history,” says SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. “I can’t imagine a more timely and inspiring reminder that when it comes to collecting, presenting, and preserving the art of our time, it’s the appetite for risk and intellectual engagement with living artists that brings about the most important and lasting outcomes.”

“It’s really impossible to overestimate the role of this eccentric American family as patrons of visual art in early 20th-century Paris,” says co-curator Janet Bishop of SFMOMA. “The Steins were true champions of modernism, embracing and defending new art as it was first being made and before it was met with widespread acceptance. They not only avidly collected works when the artists most needed support, but also enthusiastically opened their modest Left Bank homes to anyone wishing to see the most radical art of the day.” 

sarah-and-michael-stein
Henri Matisse. Sarah Stein (1916) and Michael Stein (1916)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

As American expatriates living in France, the four Steins were pivotal in shaping the city’s vibrant cultural life. Leo Stein (1872–1947) and younger sister Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) were the first to leave the family home in Oakland, traveling to Paris along with millions of tourists to visit the 1900 World’s Fair and then relocating to the city in 1902 and 1903, respectively. Sarah Stein (1870–1953) and Michael Stein (1865–1938) soon followed from San Francisco with their eight-year-old son, Allan, arriving in early 1904. The family established their apartments on rue de Fleurus (Leo and Gertrude) and rue Madame (Sarah and Michael) and quickly integrated into the intellectual circles of the Parisian avant-garde. Gertrude and Leo lived modestly off family investments and had to team up to afford their early purchases. “You can either buy clothes or buy pictures. It’s that simple… No one who is not very rich can do both,” was Gertrude’s legendary quote from Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.

The Steins also formed close friendships with the emerging artists they championed, particularly Matisse and Picasso, whose works they aggressively collected and promoted to their associates, almost single-handedly creating markets for their work outside Paris. They dined and vacationed regularly with Matisse and his family, counseled Fernande Olivier on her stormy relationship with Picasso, and made countless introductions. Sarah was instrumental in helping Matisse establish his art school and was among his devoted students.

tea-1919
Henri Matisse. Tea (1919)
Oil on canvas 55 1/4 in. x 83 1/4 in.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Along the way, the Steins covered their studio walls with cutting-edge paintings by the most controversial artists of the day and were soon overwhelmed with requests to see the collections. They eventually had to establish regular visiting hours so that Gertrude could attend to her writing in peace. Michael and Sarah decided to open their apartment on the same night of the week and so began the prestigious Saturday evening salons where the brightest artists, writers, musicians, and collectors of the day convened to discuss the latest developments. Anyone with a proper referral was welcome to strain their eyes to see the works by candlelight, as neither apartment was wired with electricity yet.

Following its SFMOMA debut, The Steins Collect will travel to the Grand Palais, Paris (October 3, 2011 through January 16, 2012) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (February 21 through June 3, 2012). The exhibition is co-curated by Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA; Cécile Debray, curator of historical collections at the Musée national d’Art moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Rebecca Rabinow, associate curator and administrator, Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Chairman, Department of Nineteenth-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A richly illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, with new research and original essays from a range of French and American experts in the field.

The Steins Collect draws from prominent public and private collections worldwide and spans the family’s entire collecting history. Among some 40 works by Picasso and approximately 60 by Matisse are such masterpieces as Matisse’s Blue Nude (Baltimore Museum of Art), Woman with a Hat (SFMOMA), Self-Portrait (Statens Museum, Copenhagen), and Tea (LACMA); and Picasso’s Lady with a Fan (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.), Boy Leading a Horse (Museum of Modern Art, New York), Nude with Joined Hands (Museum of Modern Art, New York), and Portrait of Gertrude Stein (Metropolitan Museum of Art), among many others.

boy-leading-a-horse
Pablo Picasso. Boy Leading a Horse (1905-6)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Henri Matisse. Woman with a Hat (1905)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

bathers-1898-1900
Paul Cézanne. Bathers (1898-1900)
Oil on canvas 10 5/8 in. x 18 1/8 in.
The Baltimore Museum of Art

Works will be presented roughly chronologically by when they were originally acquired by the family, highlighting major themes and benchmarks of both art history and the Steins’ parallel journey: the Paris art scene and Leo’s early interests in Cézanne, Renoir, and Manet to the infamous 1905 Salon d’Automne; Leo and Gertrude’s joint acquisitions and the rue de Fleurus; Michael and Sarah Stein’s particular devotion to Matisse and the rue Madame; Gertrude’s collecting patterns, from her complex relationship with Picasso and their artistic influence on each other through her later promotion of Gris, André Masson, and Picabia in the 1920s and ’30s; and Michael and Sarah’s history-making art advocacy in the United States, from a 1906 trip home, when they brought the first Matisse paintings to be seen on American soil, to their 1935 return to Palo Alto, California. The exhibition will also feature a special gallery devoted to the Académie Matisse, as well as a gallery conceived by SFMOMA project assistant curator Carrie Pilto devoted to the Steins’ patronage of modern architecture with their commission of the Villa Stein-de Monzie by Le Corbusier.

Informed by new research, the exhibition expands upon Four Americans in Paris: the Collections of Gertrude Stein and Her Family, an exhibition organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1970 — the last and only significant occasion for which these collections were assembled. Additionally, The Steins Collect seeks to address the historical bias toward Gertrude, which has obscured the fact that the family comprised multiple, interlocking centers of gravity, each with a particular aesthetic and set of favored artists. “Married into a family of brilliant minds and self-mythologizers, Sarah was the one who stood out to Matisse as ‘the really intellectually sensitive member of the family’ — a patron in every sense of the word,” says Bishop.

sketch-for-le-bonheur-de-vivre
Henri Matisse. Sketch for Le Bonheur de vivre 1905-6
Oil on canvas 16 in. x 21 1/2 in.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox.

See related material:

THIS GUN FOR HIRE, 1942 – Looking at “Now you see it, now you don’t” sung by Veronica Lake
Seán Martinfield YouTube with Janet Roitz – ‘Marked Woman’ (1937) and the song that gave it pizzazz – ‘My Silver Dollar Man’
“Would You Like A Souvenir?” – Sean Martinfield and Janet Roitz explore a song from Film Noir classic NORA PRENTISS (1947)
SILENT FILM FESTIVAL – Opens July 14th with re-discovered film by John Ford
THE 2011 FRESH MEAT TOUR — 4 Festive Days of Everything Transgender and Queer
“ASSASSINS” – Ray of Light Theatre presents Stephen Sondheim’s controversial musical, June 2–25
ArtPadSF — Opens Today at the Phoenix Hotel
MISSA SOLEMNIS – Christine Brewer to appear with the SF Symphony, June 23–26
VICE PALACE – All Singing! All Dancing! All Hedonism!!!
SEEING GERTRUDE STEIN: FIVE STORIES
SF GIRLS CHORUS — At the Conservatory of Music, June 9th and 11th
THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS – Coming to A.C.T.
BLUE MAN GROUP – Opens May 24th at the Golden Gate Theatre
THE MAGNA CARTA — Now on view at the Legion of Honor
THE LITTLE MERMAID – Fabulous Revival by SF Ballet, ends Sunday, 5/8
SF SYMPHONY CHORUS – In Concert at Davies Hall, 5/22
PICASSO: At the de Young Museum, Tickets on sale 5/11
THESE AMAZING SHADOWS – Opens Friday at the Sundance Kabuki Theater
SF DECORATOR SHOWCASE 2011 – 2950 Vallejo Street gets the make-over
BETH WILMURT – A stunning “Alma” in The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, at the Aurora Theatre
TENOR JAY HUNTER MORRIS – Replaces Ian Storey as “Siegfried” at SF Opera
MIKE WARD – Benefit for ailing director at Most Holy Redeermer, 4/30
THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER – Les yawns, les sighs
CD: ZUILL BAILEY, Cellist – Brahms Works for Cello and Piano
TIIT HELIMETS – An Interview with “Prince Edvard” of SF Ballet’s THE LITTLE MERMAID
NO EXIT: A Helluva Great Time at the American Conservatory Theatre
THE FLOW SHOW 3 – Coming to Dance Mission Theater, 4/29—5/1
THIS WEEKEND: New Conservatory Theatre Center presents – “Gender Mystic” and “The Busy World Is Hushed”
THE WHIFFENPOOFS – Coming To The City, May 27th
AUDITIONS: San Francisco Opera seeks physically fit male supernumeraries for Wagner’s Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung
KIRK DOUGLAS – On stage at the Castro Theatre, July 24th
54th SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL – Presents Midnight Award to Clifton Collins Jr.
NO EXIT – U.S. Premiere at A.C.T. through May 1st
WAGNER’S RING – Single tickets now on sale for SF Opera summer productions
SF BALLET’S PROGRAM 7 – Petrouchka, Underskin, and Number Nine
COMING TO SAN FRANCISCO — THE MAGNA CARTA
LORENA FEIJÓO – SF Ballet Star To Appear on “Dancing with the Stars”, 4/12
SF BALLET – Program 6, A Power-Packed Triple Feature
CD: DAVID RUSSELL — Isaac Albéniz: Spanish Music on Guitar
PROGRAM 6 at SF Ballet – Opens Thursday, April 7th
NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE CENTER – Announces 2011-12 Pride Season
NEW PUBLICATIONS: PUBLIC TRUST BETRAYED. An Interview with author and real estate appraiser, James E. Manning
MARVELOUS MENAGERIE: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel – At the Legion of Honor
CHARLOTTE SALOMON: Life? or Theatre? – Opens today at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
THE ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE – At the Aurora Theatre, 4/1—5/8
PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA & CHORALE – Announces 2011-2012 Season
AUDITIONS – SF OPERA Needs In-Shape Men and 40 Kids For WAGNER’S RING
VICE PALACE: The Last Cockettes Musical – Opens April 29th
ARMISTEAD MAUPIN – At the Julia Morgan Theatre, Thursday, 4/14
JOAN and SANFORD I. WEILL – Contribute $12 Million Dollars to Sonoma State University for Green Music Center
HUGH JACKMAN – Exclusive Engagement at the Curran Theatre, May 3–15
BALENCIAGA AND SPAIN – At the de Young, 3/26–7/4
COPPÉLIA – A Gorgeous New Production at San Francisco Ballet
DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES – At Fort Mason, 3/31—4/3
NEW ON CD – Icicle Creek Piano Trio: Haydn, Turina, Shostakovich
NATALIE DESSAY – Is “Lucia di Lammermoor” in HD at Sundance Kabuki Cinema
NEW CENTURY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA – Presents “Mastery of Schubert”, Featuring Soprano Melody Moore, 3/24–27
SF CONCERT CHORALE – Presents Herbert Howells’ Requiem and Arthur Honegger’s King David
“COPPÉLIA” – A SF Ballet Premiere, Cast Announced for Opening Night, 3/19
“THE HOMECOMING” – A Home Run at A.C.T.
BACH B-MINOR MASS – This week at San Francisco Symphony
KILLER QUEEN – The Story of “Paco the Pink Pounder”
ARE WE THERE YET? — At the Contemporary Jewish Museum, March 31st – July 31st
FLORAL DESIGNER NATASHA LISITSA – Creating the Fantastical in the Wilsey Court for “Bouquets To Art 2011″
EDITOR’S CHOICE — HÉLÈNE RENAUT, Vinyl Release Celebration at Cafe du Nord, 3/9
ZHENG CAO – A Conversation with A Miracle Artist
MELODY MOORE – Soprano shines in SF Ballet’s “Nanna’s Lied”
MARNIE BRECKENRIDGE – An Interview with “La Princesse” of Philip Glass’ Orphée
ODC THEATER – Presents Sarah Michelson and Richard Maxwell’s “Devotion”
AVENUE Q – A Totally Fabulous Place To Be
CONSTANTINE MAROULIS – Comes to the Curran Theatre in “Rock of Ages”
EDITORIAL – A confession about ballerina Lorena Feijóo
PULP FASHION: The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave at the Legion of Honor
YURI POSSOKHOV’S RAkU — Stunning World Premiere At San Francisco Ballet
CAMERON CARPENTER – Organist signs with CAMI Music and Konzertdirektion Schmid
THE PALACE OF FINE ARTS – Opening Celebration, January 14th
GISELLE – Opens SF Ballet’s 78th Season, 1/29/11
A Conversation with Elza van den Heever
THE BLACK SWAN – Don’t Save The Drippings
HEART OF A SOLDIER – SF Opera Commissions New Work
SF SYMPHONY – Announces 2011/12 Centennial Celebration
SHREK THE MUSICAL – Ogres and Freaks and Spells, “Oh, my!”
CD: MAHLER’S “Songs With Orchestra” – SF Symphony Completes Mahler Recording Project
KARITA MATTILA – “Viva To The Diva!”
CLUB FOOT ORCHESTRA – A Conversation with Richard Marriot
WEST SIDE STORY – Most of it, anyway
Dr. ELISA STEPHENS – My Visit with the President
PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE ORCHESTRA – 30th Anniversary Gala, 9/24
TENOR RAMÓN VARGAS – A Worthy “Werther” At San Francisco Opera
AÏDA – Spectacular Opening Night At San Francisco Opera
OPENING NIGHT AT SF SYMPHONY – A Mixed Bag
CUBAN BALLET – An Interview with Octavio Roca
A Look At “Giselle” with Ballerina Lorena Feijóo
DOLORA ZAJICK – Internationally Acclaimed Mezzo To Receive Merola Distinguished Alumni Award
DEBORAH VOIGT – A Captivating “Fanciulla del West”
JEANETTE MacDONALD – Hollywood Diva Remembered at the War Memorial Opera House
CD/DVD Release: CAMERON LIVE! – Organist Cameron Carpenter
THE RUFFATTI ORGAN & CAMERON CARPENTER at DAVIES HALL
PEARLS OVER SHANGHAI – An Interview with Russell Blackwood
PIANIST MISHA DICHTER – A Conversation
ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation
DAVID PERRY – On the “Dos and Don’ts of Social Media”
CAMINOS FLAMENCOS – A Conversation with Yaelisa
A CONVERSATION WITH LUCIE ARNAZ
JANE MONHEIT – At The Empire Ballroom
CAMERON CARPENTER – Up Close and Very Personal
RUBÉN MARTIN CINTAS – Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet
CHRISTINE ANDREAS – A Conversation with Beautiful Broadway and Cabaret Star
CD Review – REVOLUTIONARY, Cameron Carpenter, Organist
seans-new-photo
Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

Israeli Music CD’s

» Don’t miss a thing. Get Sentinel breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox

SENTINEL FOUNDER PAT MURPHY
pat-murphy-wood-wall-nov-101
Telephone: 415-846-2475
Email: SanFranciscoSentinel@yahoo.com

Photo By Luke Thomas FogCityJournal.com

fidf

New Video Song for Our IDF Soldiers

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. SHAWN MATHEY – To replace Topi Lehtipuu in SF Opera’s “Don Giovanni”, opening … | WORLDFESTIVALS - October 12, 2011

    [...] – Sean Martinfield and Janet Roitz try a strain from Film Noir classical NORA PRENTISS (1947)SFMOMA — The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and a Parisian Avant-Garde“ASSASSINS” – Ray of Light Theatre presents Stephen Sondheim’s argumentative musical, Jun [...]

  2. “REAL STEEL” – Reels of money-making crap starring Hugh Jackman « AndFed.com – Breaking News | Latest News | Current News - October 8, 2011

    [...] – Sean Martinfield and Janet Roitz explore a song from Film Noir classic NORA PRENTISS (1947)SFMOMA — The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde“ASSASSINS” – Ray of Light Theatre presents Stephen Sondheim’s controversial musical, June [...]

  3. Red Accent Chair - September 30, 2011

    Accent Chair Furniture…

    [...]San Francisco Sentinel » Blog Archives » SFMOMA — The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde[...]…