In 1906, Pablo Picasso painted Gertrude Stein, an American writer and art collector who was a close friend and early patron of the artist in Paris. The portrait is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and is described as arresting, capturing Stein’s forceful character with her hair pulled tightly into a bun and dressed in a brown corduroy suit.
Picasso needed to suggest the strength of Stein’s mind and personality in the painting, incorporating elements of Cubism with distorted perspectives while also paying homage to traditional portraiture. The artwork marks an important stage in Picasso’s evolving style, made just one year before he created Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.
Stein’s relationship with Picasso influenced both artists significantly. She introduced him to other influential members of the artistic community and encouraged his experimentation with Cubism. Likewise, Picasso inspired Stein to write more experimental literature that challenged traditional forms.
The painting remains not only as a remarkable work of art but also serves as a testament to their friendship which spanned over four decades. It continues to be an important piece for art enthusiasts today looking back over 100 years ago at Gertrude Stein – Pablo Picasso – 1906.