While I was home for Passover, we went to New York City to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
We specifically went to see The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Paris Avant-Garde. This temporary exhibition occupies nine galleries on the third floor and is absolutely amazing! Gertrude Stein and her brothers Leo and Michael, and sister-in-law Sarah lived in Paris during the early 20th century. Although they did not have a lot of money, they were interested in purchasing art. They amassed a tremendous collection of works by young, talented, and virtually unknown artists including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.
The Steins hung the works salon-style in their 460 square foot studio in Paris at 27 Rue de Fleurus, represented in a full size at the beginning of the exhibition. In order to accommodate new acquisitions, they frequently moved and rearranged their artwork. Fortunately, the Steins also took photographs of their various installations. The curatorial team relied on over 400 photographs to curate the exhibition. Eric particularly enjoyed the juxtaposition of the exact paintings that were documented in the large photomurals in each of the galleries.
The Steins opened their apartments on Saturday afternoons, allowing visitors to see their collection, shaping art appreciation for future generations. When the Steins found themselves low on funds to buy more art, they would sell pieces of their collection. Clara and Etta Cone of Baltimore were frequent buyers, and thus it was not surprising that several pieces on display were on loan from the Baltimore Museum of Art. http://www.artbma.org/collection/overview/cone.html
Picasso’s famous portrait of Stein reminded me of a line from The Paris Wife by Paula McLain where Gertrude Stein plays prominently in shaping Ernest Hemingway’s writing career. In the book Hadley and Ernest wonder, “How much do you think Gertrude’s breast weigh?” My father used the audio tour and found that it provided more information than the text panel about the rift between Gertrude and Leo.
Photography is not allowed in the exhibition, but the link below will provide you with highlights from the exhibition.
After the signing exhibit me I’ll when I separate ways and explore different parts of the museum. My dad was enthralled with the painting of Napoleon at battle. http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/110001498
Eric spent two more hours in the hall of armor.
My sister and toured the American Period Rooms –installations of original furnishings and structures from of the most impressive homes in the country. My sister was particularly taken by and tables and other large furniture created by the Harter brothers, well I enjoyed paintings by Thomas Dewing, Tiffany lamps and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style home.
We all enjoyed the temple of Dendur installation – an actual in Egyptian temple that was saved in 1965 before the Nile River was intentionally flooded.
As you can see, even if you don’t have a free pass, the museum is well worth it!