1934 Portrait of Gertrude Stein by Carl Van Vechten
I think Gertrude Stein was one of those people who can aptly be described as a “force of nature.” Born in 1874, Gertrude Steinspent most of her adult life in France. She was a patron of the arts who entertained and supported painters like Matisse and Picasso, and writers like Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Stein was a writer herself, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, was perhaps her most famous work.
Stein and her brother Leo moved to Paris in 1903 and began collecting art. At the Metropolitan Museum of art, there is currently a fascinating exhibit of the work Gertrude, Leo, and their other brother Michael collected. I saw that collection on my trip to NY, and you can see it now by clicking HERE.
Stein led an intriguing life, full of art, literature, and intellectual pursuits. She wrote operas and novels. She posed for Picasso. There is much much more to learn about her than I can include here, but you can find out more about her at biography.com.
I love love love these quotes. Take a look.
Gertrude Stein Quotes
- Writing and reading is to me synonymous with existing.
- A masterpiece… may be unwelcome but it is never dull.
- If you can’t say anything nice about anyone else, come sit next to me.
- Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
- Let me listen to me and not to them.
- I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to get rich.
- For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts.
- You have to know what you want to get it.
- Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?
- One must dare to be happy.
Can I hear an “Amen”? I have never done this before, but I just had responses welling up inside me for all of these quotes. So out of respect for those who like purity, I am letting the quotes above stand alone. Purists, you can stop reading now. But if you are curious about my responses to these quotes, well, here they are.
“Writing and reading is to me synonymous with existing. ”Well, all writers feel this way. Thanks for representing, Gertrude!
“Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?” This is why I love YA and MG. I can’t bear for a book to make me unhappy.
A masterpiece… may be unwelcome but it is never dull. She absolutely nailed it! Some of our greatest works of art and literatures spawned tremendous controversy. Catcher in the Rye, anyone?
“If you can’t say anything nice about anyone else, come sit next to me.” Really? Gertrude Stein said that? I thought I saw it stitched on a sofa pillow at Cracker Barrel.
“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” Whoa! Is this poignant or what? And she said this before Twitter, FB, Blogs, and cell phones.
“Let me listen to me and not to them.” I couldn’t say it better myself.
“I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to get rich.” I know, right? It is such a problem.
“For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts.” Human nature at its best. Or worst. Depends on what we’re accepting.
“You have to know what you want to get it.” Amen. Just Amen.
“One must dare to be happy. ” This is true, but why is it so hard? We have to dare to give up our worries, our obsessions, our guilt, our selfishness… and if we can swing that, we might just make it to happiness!
See why I love these quotes? Stein’s speech is simple and direct, and what she said 100 years ago is applicable today.