Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"The Steins Collect" Exhibit in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Last weekend, I visited San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) for the special exhibition - The Steins Collect.  The exhibit focused on "four American expatriates in bohemian Paris when the 20th century was young, the Steins — writer Gertrude, her brothers Leo and Michael, and Michael's wife, Sarah — were among the first to recognize the talents of avant-garde painters like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Through their friendship and patronage, they helped spark an artistic revolution. This landmark exhibition draws on collections around the world to reunite the Steins' unparalleled holdings of modern art, bringing together, for the first time in a generation, dozens of works by Matisse, Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and many others. Artworks on view include Matisse's Blue Nude (Baltimore Museum of Art) and Self-Portrait (Statens Museum, Copenhagen), and Picasso's famous portrait Gertrude Stein (Metropolitan Museum of Art)." -- Source: SFMOMA.

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The collection was quite astonishing - both for the depth and the breath of these four keen-eyed collectors.  The most astonishing piece to me, was the "Boy Leading a Horse" by Pablo Picasso, which I saw last year in its permanent home, The Museum of Modern Art, New York City.  It was one of the most hauntingly beautiful paintings in the art history. 

Boy Leading a Horse, 1905-06, Pablo 
Picasso _7443 (m)
Boy Leading a Horse, 1905-06, Pablo Picasso, NYMOMA

Boy Leading a Horse (details), 1905-06, Pablo Picasso _7447
Boy Leading a Horse (details), 1905-06, Pablo Picasso, NYMOMA

Other favorite piece are mostly by Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse and Bonnard.  The standouts are Cézanne's Large Bathers (c. 1998), Picasso's Lady with a Fan (1905), Gertrude Stein (1905-06), Strolling Player and Child (1905), and Matisse's Music (Sketch) (1907) below:

Music (Sketch), spring-summer 1907, Henri Matisse_7407
Music (Sketch), spring-summer 1907, Henri Matisse, NYMOMA

Matisse's The Sailor II (below, seen at NYMOMA) is not included in the exhibit but it resembled closely the included The Young Sailor I (1906).  The program informed us that Matisse persuaded Michael and Sarah Stein to loan several paintings of his from their collection for an exhibit in Germany and those pieces were trapped there during World War I.  In order to console his collectors, he made double portraits of Peter and Stein, now in SFMOMA's permanent collection.

The Sailor II, 1906, Henri Matisse _8372
The Sailor II, 1906, Henri Matisse, The Metropolitan Museum


Portrait of Sarah Stein (Portrait de Sarah Stein), 1916

I particularly loved the portrait of Sarah, buttressed by her fantastic high collar, which reminded me another piece by Matisse, another piece I saw in New York MOMA last year:

Portrait of Yvonne Landsberg, Henri Matisse, 1914
Portrait of Yvonne Landsberg, 1914, Henri Matisse, , NYMOMA

The exhibit lasts from May 21 to September 06, 2011.  The ticket price is not cheap - $25 for an adult, but it is a wonderful show and the Boy Leading a Horse, just by itself, was totally worth the price of admission.  Besides, visitors can also view many wonderful permanent collections, including the rooftop sculpture garden:

Frau bei der Toilette mit roten und weissen Lilien (Woman at Her Toilette with Red and White Lilies), 1938, Max Beckmann, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art _ 3124
Frau bei der Toilette mit roten und weissen Lilien (Woman at Her Toilette with Red and White Lilies), 1938, Max Beckmann

Vase of Anemones, 1918, Henri Matisse, SFMOMA _ 3125
Vase of Anemones, 1918, Henri Matisse

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Guardians of the Secret, 1943, Oil on canvas, Jackson Pollock, 1912-1956 

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SFMOMA Collection

The Structure of Light, 2008, Alyson Shotz, SFMOMA, 3146

The Structure of Light, 2008, Alyson Shotz, SFMOMA, 3144

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The Structure of Light, 2008, Alyson Shotz

2 comments:

  1. With the current controversy about Gertrude Stein and after the Edward Burns's answer it is interesting to Know one of the last Gertrude Stein's vew before dying when she speaks about art it is also politic .

    Stein's preface to the exhibition by Francisco Riba Rovira at Roquepine Gallery in May 1945:
    « It is inevitable that when we really need someone we find him. The person you need attracts you like a magnet. I returned to Paris, after these long years spent in the countryside and I needed a young painter, a young painter who would awaken me. Paris was magnificent, but where was the young painter? I looked everywhere: at my contemporaries and their followers. I walked a lot, I looked everywhere, in all the galleries, but the young painter was not there. Yes, I walk a lot, a lot at the edge of the Seine where we fish, where we paint, where we walk dogs (I am of those who walk their dogs). Not a single young painter!
    One day, on the corner of a street, in one of these small streets in my district, I saw a man painting. I looked at him; at him and at his painting, as I always look at everybody who creates something I have an indefatigable curiosity to look and I was moved. Yes, a young painter!
    We began to speak, because we speak easily, as easily as in country roads, in the small streets of the district. His story was the sad story of the young people of our time. A young Spaniard who studied in fine arts in Barcelona: civil war; exile; a concentration camp; escape. Gestapo, another prison, another escape... Eight lost years! If they were lost, who knows? And now a little misery, but all the same the painting. Why did I find that it was him the young painter, why? I visited his drawings, his painting: we speak.
    I explained that for me, all modern painting is based on what Cézanne nearly made, instead of basing itself on what he almost managed to make. When he could not make a thing, he hijacked it and left it. He insisted on showing his incapacity: he spread his lack of success: showing what he could not do, became an obsession for him. People influenced by him were also obsessed by the things which they could not reach and they began the system of camouflage. It was natural to do so, even inevitable: that soon became an art, in peace and in war, and Matisse concealed and insisted at the same time on that Cézanne could not realize, and Picassoconcealed, played and tormented all these things.
    The only one who wanted to insist on this problem, was Juan Gris. He persisted by deepening the things which Cézanne wanted to do, but it was too hard a task for him: it killed him.And now here we are, I find a young painter who does not follow the tendency to play with what Cézanne could not do, but who attacks any right the things which he tried to make, to create the objects which have to exist, for, and in themselves, and not in relation.
    This young painter has his weaknesses and his strengths. His force will push him in this road. I am fascinated and that is why he is the young painter who I needed. He is Francisco Riba Rovira. »
    Gertrude Stein


    Perhaps you have something to tell about when Gertrude Stein tells us on Cezanne, Riba-Rovira, Matisse, Picasso, Juan Gris...

    Because why did she help Riba-Rovira ?

    Was she only fascinated by his art ?

    Was it a politic mistification and manipulation to make on his back a new vitginity for her...
    Because as she tells ,he was persecuted by the nazi .Certainly arrested after "sabotages" in coke working in St Etienne ,if he would not escape from Vannes in a transit camp where the ss wera from Holland he would be send to Mathausen as a red and republican spanish .
    But in all that when we saw in the Met the portrait of Gertrude Stein he did we can read in his way of painting a kind touch of something hieratic ,very straight ,as you must to be after beeing down .
    All his life fighting the faschism as with Picasso when they did the book to support coke miners in the Asturies who were on stricke in in the sixties ...

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  2. Dear  ,

    now this wonderfull exhibition,"The Steins Collect;Matisse,Picasso,Cezanne and the Parisian Avant Garde" in NewYork at the Metropolitan Museum of Art ,is over .

    It was a little more than twelve months the Steins’s Year .Perhaps more than one million visitors in the five exhibitions .

    What a pleasure to see the portrait of Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira .

    Who was as Picasso an antifascist and antinazi artist .Persecuted by Franco and the Nazis .And he is in this exhibition ,thanks to Rebecca Rabinow and Edward Burns.
    So Riba-Rovira is beside Tchelitchew and Balthus and Francis Rose near Picabia and Picasso in the last room of this exhibition with Cézanne, Matisse .

    You have an interesting article in Appollo London Revew about him .And also in Artes Magazine from San Francisco where the exhibition was before .

    The main revelation is in the mention beside the picture with the Preface Gertrude Stein wrote for first Riba-Rovira's exhibition in the Galerie Roquepine in Paris on 1945 .

    Where we can read Gertrude Stein writing Riba-Rovira "will go farther than Cezanne...will succeed in where Picasso failed...I am fascinated " by Riba-Rovira Gertrude Stein tells us .

    And you are you also fascinated indeed as Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira ?
    Me I am when I see « L’Arlequin » on the free access website of « Galeria Muro ».

    Gertrude Stein spoke in this same document not only Picasso and Cezanne but also Matisse and  Juan Gris .
    Riba-Rovira went each week in Gertrude Stein's saloon rue Christine with Masson, Hemingway and others. By Edward Burns and Carl Van Vechten we can know Riba-Rovira did others portraits of Gertrude Stein .

    But we do not know where they are ;and you do you know perhaps ?

    With this portrait we do not forget it is the last time Gertrude Stein sat for an artist who is Riba-Rovira .Picasso the first .
    This exhibition presents us a world success with this last painting portrait before she died .And her last Gertrude Stein's Art Retrospective before dead .

    It illuminates the tone as an esthetic light over that exhibition now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York thanks to Curator Rebecca Rabinow .
    Coming from San Francisco "Seeing five stories" in the Jewish museum to Washington in National Portrait Gallery .And after Paris, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York for our pleasure .

    And the must is to see for the first time in the same place portraits by Picasso, Picabia, Riba-Rovira, Rose ,Tall-Coat, Valloton .Never before it was .

    You have the translate of Gertrude Stein's Riba-Rovira Preface on english Gertrude Stein's page on Wikipedia and in the catalog of this Roquepine exhibition you can see in first place the mention of this portrait .And also other pictures Gertrude Stein bought to Riba-Rovira .
    There is another place where you can see now Riba-Rovira's works in an exhibition in Valencia in Spain "Homenage a Gertrude Stein" by Riba-Rovira in Galeria Muro ,if you like art ...

    We do not missed today that all over Europe a very bad wind is blowing again bringing the worth in front of us .And we must know that at least were two antinazis and antifascists in this exhibition but the only one fighting weapons in hands would be Riba-Rovira who did one of the first three « affiches » supporting Republicans in the beguining Spanish civil war .

    Seeing the Portrait of Gertrude Stein by Riba-Rovira in the Metropolitain Museum of New York with Picasso ,Cézanne ,Matisse we feel a recreation of spirit .

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